Thursday, December 8, 2011
Villains for Hire #1
Artist: Renato Arlem
Company: Marvel Comics
While it was a little sad to see Heroes for Hire slip into the ether, it's nice that the core of the title and many of the main threads essentially get to live on in another incarnation in this four issue mini-series. The focus has shifted a bit, skewing to the villains this time, but not much has changed in the actual craft of the story. DnA still approach it the same way, putting forth a collection of off the wall characters and allowing them to be cool in ways and deeds that they normally don't get the chance to be. It's almost as if these writers sorted through a toy chest filled to the brim with D and Z list action figures and then, after careful consideration, went to war with them.
From the opening page, we are assaulted with great ideas. The notion that The Purple Man has taken the bones of Misty Knight's plan of attack and made it his own in a sort of reverse Ocean's Eleven quest for money and power, is a great hook. It not only makes sense for the character, but the almost procedural element serves as a great framing device and compliments the various villains and their respective specialties as we see Purple Man's team plan and enact a rather complicated heist. As you might suspect though, when you're working with villains, the plan never goes the way you think, especially when there's another player in the game that wants to see you fail.
The art here, while skewing a bit dark in the ink department a few times, is quite nice. Like with Heroes for Hire, the action is key and Renato Arlem, and artist that has been on a host of other projects over the years that range from Annihilation Silver Surfer to Hawkgirl to X-Factor, seems up to the challenge. His movement and action pieces have weight to them and there is an almost Alex Maleev like quality to the work that gives it an edge. The level of realism that he brings to the table, especially in his backgrounds, while at the same time finding a way to not sacrifice the very larger than life qualities that make these kinds of stories great, works so well.
So yes, if you were enjoying Heroes for Hire before or if you just want a book that upholds the credo of great story and great action, then Villains for Hire is a book that fits the bill. A solid beginning to what should be a great mini.