Comic Book Review: ‘Villains For Hire’ #0.1

Posted Friday, November 4th, 2011 05:30 pm GMT -4 by

Villains For Hire #0.1 Cover Misty Knight ControlI’m not sure why Marvel keeps using these decimal points in their numbering.  It just gets confusing.  In this case, I suppose it’s because this is a prelude to the actual ‘Villains For Hire’ miniseries, as this books stars only heroes, just like the prior ‘Heroes For Hire’ series.  Once again, Misty Knight I mean, Control employs some of her familiar operatives, Paladin and Silver Sable, to attempt to thwart a robbery.  This time, she also calls in a couple of new agents, Hellstorm and the illustrious Black Panther, who acts out of goodness, not for payment.  The heroes find themselves in opposition to a new Stilt-Man, who happens to be a woman and some of the Mole Man’s creatures.  The epilogue is probably the most important portion of this book as we learn the structure for Heroes for Hire was actually created by The Purple Man and was intended to serve as the basis for Villains for Hire and he means to take it back.

Misty Knight is a fantastic character and continues to act intelligently, summoning the heroes best suited for any given situation, even the rather dangerous Son of Satan, Damon Hellstrom.  (His form of payment is fairly comical.)  However, the ‘Villains For Hire’ title seems to be a misnomer as none of the villains depicted on the cover appear anywhere inside the comic.  This almost feels like a throwaway issue.  The Purple Man’s cameo could have easily served as the opening scene in the actual first issue.

I would guess that Misty will be employing villains in the upcoming miniseries, ‘Suicide Squad’ style.  That may prove interesting, but I was already not-quite-happy with Misty serving as Marvel’s answer to DC’s Oracle.  Now she’s going to be their Amanda Waller?  Misty is a great character on her own!  She’s a butt-kicking private eye with a cybernetic arm and the baddest afro ever!  Why not play up her strengths instead of trying to shoe-horn her into other roles, especially roles that are already occupied by existing characters at another company?  (Okay, so Oracle’s role is now vacant, even so…)  She’s a competent action hero on her own.  Get her out from behind the computer and let her do what she’s best at!

This is a decent issue.  It moves quickly.  The dialogue is great!  The running gag regarding the new female Stilt-Man is amusing.  The art is satisfactory.  It just doesn’t really seem to have any purpose.  It doesn’t actually feature villains for hire!  It doesn’t adequately set up the miniseries as we’re left wondering what Misty’s role will be in it.  Will Purple Man be running the show or will she?  Will the villains be acting as heroes, like in ‘Suicide Squad’ or will this actually be a villains-being-villains book?  We’re just left with too many questions.

Unfortunately, I just don’t feel like this book is worth the price of admission.  I love Misty Knight, so I keep buying her books, but the creators simply are not using her to her fullest potential.  They seem too caught up in their overall concept to just get out of the way and tell a great story.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with this issue, but I just find no purpose for it.  Alas…

Verdict: Burn

VILLAINS FOR HIRE #0.1
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Renato Arlem
Cover by Patrick Zircher & Andry Troy