It's a Heroes for Hire day. Best day of the week! Why can't every day be H4H day?
Heroes for Hire #8-10 - I'm probably not paying close enough attention, but I like that it doesn't seem like Marvel is deluging us with variant covers for their Fear Itself tie-ins. Mike Sterling said something about a "1 in 52" cover variant offer, which yes, is a little jab at DC, but it's still more restraint than I expect from Marvel.
Issue 8 wraps up the guest appearance by Spider-Man, as he, Paladin, Satanna, and Misty bring down an operation that's combined all the stuff they were trying to shut down in the first arc. Drugs, demon weapons, blood sport starring animals swiped from the Savage Land. Batroc is captured, but shows surprising loyalty for a guy whose loyalty was purchased. That kind of tight-lippiness would be valued by potential employers, I guess. We get some glimpses of the mastermind, but his identity remains unknown. . .
Until issue 9, when he's revealed as Kilgrave, the Purple Man. Swell, one of the only villains out there creepier than the Puppet Master. Next we'll find out Kilgrave is working for the Mandrill. 9 and 10 are tied-in to Fear Itself, with two plots. One is Paladin and the Gargoyle first trying to slow down a possessed Ben Grimm, then finding themselves overwhelmed by some poor guy whose body absorbed a whole bunch of weird fear-inducing chemicals. These either cause people who see him to picture him as their greatest fear, or it actually turns him into their greatest fear. Not sure which. Looks like it's Misty Knight to the rescue again. The other plot involves the Shroud and Elektra heading to the now busted open Raft and trying to keep as many criminals from escaping as they can. Which is when they run into Kilgrave, and it looks like he's going to have Elektra kill the Shroud. Don't worry, I'm sure they both used martial arts techniques they know to hold their breath. Grape Boy gets close, they beat his ass, a good time is had by all.
I'm disappointed Abnett and Lanning didn't write Batroc with his ludicrous French accent. I don't think we got one "Zut alors!" the entire arc. I like that for as much as Paladin rides Spidey for being an amateur, they both thought to call in backup. It's just Paladin's showed up first. The Avengers probably couldn't adjust to the idea of being in a title where they'd get to do stuff, rather than stammer mindlessly.
I like how they're using Fear Itself. It would have been a bit much for the heroes they have to slow down a more powerful than ever Thing, and it isn't as though they'd be allowed to solve the problem even if they could. That's for Fraction and Immonen, so it's something to jump off from, a catastrophe leaving smaller disasters in its wake. And they continue to advance the main plot about who has been behind everything the group's been up against.
Brad Walker drew issue 8, which means slightly strange looking faces, but well-drawn fight scenes and some nice panel layouts. Kyle Hotz drew issues 9 and 10, which seemed appropriate to me. The two things I've read he drew were the original Hood mini-series and Annihilation: Conquest - Wraith mini-series, and both of those were deeply atmospheric. Hood was more dark because of the lying and criminal aspects, Wraith because of the title character's mysterious nature, and the sense of doom from the Phalanx having captured so many. For a tie-in to a story about fear overwhelming everyone, he seems perfect. Ben Grimm was certainly freaky looking, those weird mouths all over his chest, and his Raft was a mostly dark, caved in looking disaster, where you don't know what monster you may run into around each corner, and you'd rather not know.
Tomorrow, we wrap these reviews up.