Zebidiah Killgrave, The Purple Man, attempts to take back his “format” of hiring specific operatives whose abilities and talents best suit a given situation from Misty Knight, who had been utilizing this technique, operating as Control for Heroes For Hire. In this issue, Killgrave, assisted by Headhunter, sends The Shocker, Avalanche, Death Stalker and The Scourge to obtain some precious cargo. But, surprise! There’s a rival gang of crooks also seeking the same bounty and they are Tiger Shark, Bombshell, Crossfire and Nightshade! The two gangs of thieves slug it out with one member on each team appearing to perish, but neither is what they seem. Ultimately, it is the other team, not Killgrave’s, that scores the prize. They return to their secret base and their “mysterious leader” informs them that she (yep, she) wants to take Killgrave’s place.
This was a solid enough first issue. The tone and basic structure of the book are laid out. There’s ample action. And it felt like a self-contained single issue. Yes, there is an overall story line, but this issue on its own was fully satisfactory.
I don’t normally like books that star villains, but I do like how obscure so many of the characters are. There’s a lot of untapped potential here, so things could get really intriguing if writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning really cut loose with them, the way Gail Simone did on the similar DC title ‘Secret Six.’ There are a couple of little twists that worked nicely. Overall, it worked quite well as an opening issue, clearly spelling out the book’s subsequent direction.
The art is nice. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not bad at all. There’s a “sketchy” look to certain panels, which is interesting. The roughness befits a book about criminals. It just works. It’s not showy or overly-stylized, but it works. It suits the book and effectively conveys the story.
All in all, I don’t expect this book to be a huge seller, but it’s actually a solid effort. The story isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s entertaining. The art accomplishes what it needs to. It’s a nicely, well-rounded effort. You could waste $2.99 on a lot worse comics!
VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by Renato Arlem
Cover by Rodolfo Migliari