Thursday, May 24, 2007

Heroes for Hire

Now, given the title of my post, you might be expecting a rant about the cover image that was sent out earlier this week about the upcoming Heroes for Hire #13. Since I'm never really one to follow a trend, though, I'm going to pass over that debate entirely. (Honestly, I never made the tentacle/rape connection mentally until it was pointed out a couple of times. I was more taken aback by the fact that Misty's nipple should almost certainly be showing given the way that outfit flows over her left breast.) But, no, today I'm looking at the current Heroes for Hire series on the whole.

When it debuted not quite a year ago, I thought I would pick it up. It's got a very differnt concept from just about any other mainstream superhero book and it was bound to be a low-seller. Which would give the creators more latitude to experiment. Indeed, the first issues were different, and there was an interesting (I thought) plot of black market trade in Skrull organs to grant shapeshifting powers to the recipient. Kind of a clever concept, but not executed terribly well. I certainly couldn't really identify with any of the characters, and the actual Skrull-organ idea seemed to get tossed by the wayside in favor of a big slugfest with an old arch-nemesis. It somehow kind of tied in with the whole "Civil War" thing Marvel was doing, so I wrote it off as a relatively last-minute attempt to tie into the crossover and boost sales.

The next story was about some kid who stumbled across an old Doom-bot and reprogrammed him to be his friend. Another reasonably clever idea (although not quite as clever as the first). Further, the kid is just trying to get his robot back from the Headmen, who've stolen and reprogrammed him for... well, I don't recall actually. Did they even have a reason? In any event, the story about the kid fell to the wayside in favor of a big slugfest, this time with the Headmen and this re-reprogrammed Doom-bot. And I still couldn't really get into the characters.

The current storyline involves trying to capture Moon-boy because his ancient DNA will help to develop the cure for everything. (Moon-boy was the long-time partner of the more famous Devil Dinosaur, for those who didn't know.) I'm not really sure where the plot's going at this point and the book seems more about whatever the crisis du jour is. And while I don't mind the crisis du jour concept per se, it seems to run counter to trying to establish an overarching plot. I don't feel like the book has delivered so far on the longer story arcs, and this latest one (two issues into this particular story) seems to be on the verge of derailing as well.

The book seems schitzophrenic, not entirely sure if it wants to tell larger or smaller stories, or if it should focus on character development or plot. To be sure, it's not necessarily a bad thing to do both! You can have a larger arc told from a small story perspective. You can have a driving plot that's built from solid characterization. But it's not really blended here. We seem to be getting either/or writing and a constantly shifting focus instead of smoother, blended approach. I'm not sure where to lay fault here because there've been several writers on the book already, some working collaboratively, some working independently.

The last two issues have been drawn by Clay Mann, whose work I was only faintly familiar with before now. He seems capable enough, but I personally am not overly fond of his illustration style. Not so much that I'd drop the book because of it, certainly, but it's not doing anything to entice me to stay on the book.

Not surprisingly, this is getting dropped from my pull list. I'm not surprised, honestly. (In fact, I'm more surprised that the book hasn't been cancelled yet!) I'm a little disappointed in myself, though, for continuing to get the book as long as I have. The characters weren't a draw, the plots were disjointed, and the clever ideas that were presented never really got delivered in a satisfactory way.

3 comments:

Johnny B said...

Did you get the Daughters of the Dragon miniseries this was spun off from? It's much, MUCH better than this disappointing series has been.

Sean Kleefeld said...

Strangely, the advance information on Daughters of the Dragon did not even capture the slightest spark of interest for me. I very intentionally passed over it because it didn't seem very interesting.

As I seem to learning, though, it was in fact much better than what, to me, was the more fascinating sounding title.

Go figure!

Anonymous said...

How the outfit flows is of no importance. I know what you like, you are like me a sex deprived pervo, there should just be nipples always showing on this hot 2d comic babes.
Drewl.
Drewl.