Allow me, if you will, to explain my bizarre relationship with Marvel. Aside from my love for The Avengers and an on-again/off-again relationship with the X-Men, I’ve never gotten into any of their big name franchises. I’ve bought fewer than 10 copies of ‘Spider-Man’ in my life. Same for ‘Captain America’ and so forth.
It’s the oddballs, I’m slavishly devoted to. I was a massive Defenders fan and today, anytime Hell-Cat or Valkyrie pops up in a book, I buy it. Same for Dazzler, Fire-Star and (hey look, a guy) Luke Cage. I think the fact that Monica Rambeau was stripped of the title ‘Captain Marvel’ is one of the greatest injustices in all of comics! (I think it’s even on Women In Refrigerators!) And I was ecstatic this week, when I walked into my LCS and found an Eaglemoss lead figurine of Moondragon! So now allow me to present a book staring… Misty Knight.
Misty Knight was Marvel Comics’ answer to Foxy Brown in the 70s, a badass private eye with a powerful cybernetic arm, a kung fu kicking boyfriend, Iron Fist, and a samurai sword slinging best friend and partner, Colleen Wing. The two ladies, known collectively as The Daughters of the Dragon, appeared in Iron Fist’s title which he shared with Luke Cage but would eventually receive their own runs, which unfortunately, never lasted for long.
Most recently, Colleen left to battle her mother, who led a pack of ninja ladies called The Nail. (I know that sentence just made you want to run right out and grab that comic, so go ahead. I’ll wait until you get back.) Misty, however was injured and in a slightly odd move, she was reinvented as Marvel’s answer to Oracle, calling herself Control and sitting at a computer giving orders to other heroes who acted as her field agents. On one hand, I’ll read any Misty Knight comic they put out, so I was happy about that. But to sideline such a badass character, known for her hand-to-hand fighting skills? And to make her derivative of another company’s character? I didn’t like that. That series just ended and will be replaced by ‘Villains For Hire.’
In the meantime, we get this, ‘Spider Island: Heroes For Hire.’ At least Misty’s back in the thick of it again, actually going into battle with a large number of the supporting cast members from the recent ‘Heroes For Hire’ series, her new partner Paladin, Black Cat, Black Widow, Elektra, The Falcon and Gargoyle. At this point, the Spider Virus that has afflicted New York has turned its population into horrific spider creatures, who are rampaging all around, while the heroes have to contain this disaster, keep it from escalating and prevent anyone from getting out of New York! Misty runs into a few other heroes like Luke Cage and The Shroud. Unfortunately, Paladin is infected and Misty must now battle her partner (and possible romantic interest). This book has a baffling ending, a cliff-hanger! This is a one shot! There won’t be anymore issues! How does this end?! Where am I supposed to go to find out?! On the last page, there’s an ad for Spider-Man’s book, reading “Learn the fate of New York’s heroes in ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #671 & 372!” Let’s hope that’s it!
I was very unsatisfied with this book! The writers are the same team from ‘Heroes For Hire,’ Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, but I felt like ‘H4H’ was wrapped up fairly well. This didn’t need to be tacked on. It felt like it existed for no reason! The heroes run all over New York, encounter other heroes, battle super villains and spider monsters, yet they don’t really accomplish a whole lot! It felt like a chaotic mess. Maybe that was the point, but I didn’t care for it. And then, there’s that stupid cliff-hanger! The art by Kyle Hotz is okay. It felt a little “90s Image Comics,” but it’s perfectly serviceable and he does draw a beautiful (if not slightly too youthful) Misty.
I certainly hope ‘Villains For Hire’ is better than this! I love ya, Misty, but sorry…
SPIDER ISLAND: HEROES FOR HIRE
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencilled by Kyle Hotz
Cover by Yardin (after Romita)