Heroes For Hire V2 TP Ahead of the Curve Zeb Wells Al Rio 1st print Black Cat


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HEROES FOR HIRE VOL. 2: AHEAD OF THE CURVE SC – Creators: Written by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti & Zeb Wells / Penciled by Al Rio / Cover by Billy Tucci.

Marvel’s strangest team of heroes find themselves trapped in the hull of a ship with a bomb as the Grim Reaper plans to blow up the Statue of Liberty and take the Heroes for Hire with it! But why? What nefarious plan could he have up his sleeve? He’s evil so does it matter? He has to be stopped! Also, someone dies! No kidding. As if that wasn’t enough, here comes the return of villains no one asked for! THE HORRIFIC HEADMEN have a special surprise for the hapless Humbug! Collecting HEROES FOR HIRE #6-10. 120 pages.

Strapped for cash and in a new headquarters, the Heroes for Hire take a job from a kid (who pays with change in a jar) to find his pet robot, who has been stolen by supervillains; at the same time, the group takes on a job from a local organized crime enforcer to determine who is souring the diamond trade in the neighborhood. However, the group soon finds that the two cases are interconnected, and involve not only the Grim Reaper and his henchmen, but also the wacky villains The Headmen and a lost Doombot. However, the case ends in tragedy for the Heroes, though in the end they do get their men. Following this case, our heroes are hired by the government, along with the ne’er-do-well, double-crossing mercenary Paladin, to capture a pre-human hominid on the Savage Land – leading to prehistoric hijincks, and a new destiny for Humbug in the process. All the while, Shang-Chi continues his downward spiral as his mighty calm begins to crack, and his relationship with the lovely, homicidal Tarantula heats up.

The art in this volume is spectacular. While Vol. 1 featured some passable pencils, Vol. 2 kicks off with 3 chapters of art from the legendary Al Rio, who is a master of drawing both comic book action and superheroines; Rio lends exceptionally vibrant life to every character he draws, and his artistry cannot be overestimated – you’ll end up pouring over his sections of the volume for hours, wondering just how the heck he does it. In the final two chapters, the pencils are handled by Clay Mann, who has a kinetic, hip style reminiscent of some of the grittier anime sequences in the Animatrix or Afro Samurai; his expressionistic renditions of the characters are a lot of fun, and very well done. A good thing about this volume – the entrance of Zeb Wells as writer. He writes the final three chapters, and you sense a change in style and flair immediately – he manages to make the action in the Savage Land actually menacing, and lends a good amount of drama to the proceedings.

Collects Heroes for Hire 6-10. Near mint, 1st print.