Heroes for Hire
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The Heroes for Hire concept originated with Luke Cage's solo series titled Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. As a "hero for hire," Cage tried to merge the usually pro bono world of superheroics with the bill-paying practicality of private investigation. Although the title changed to Luke Cage, Power Man in issue #17, Cage continued with his for-hire activities.
Initially, Heroes For Hire, Inc. was a small business licensed by the state of New York which offered a full line of professional investigation and protection services. Heroes For Hire was owned by Luke Cage and Daniel Rand. It had offices on Park Avenue and two paid employees: Jenny Royce, the group's secretary and Jeryn Hogarth, the group's lawyer and business representative. Heroes For Hire would not accept jobs that involve extralegal activities.
Power Man and Iron Fist
His own series cancelled due to low sales, Iron Fist joined the cast of Luke Cage, Power Man in a three-part storyline in #48–50. The comic's name changed to Power Man and Iron Fist from #50 upwards. The two formed a new Heroes for Hire, Inc, founded by attorney Jeryn Hogarth and staffed by administrative wunderkind Jennie Royce. Iron Fist supporting cast characters Colleen Wing and Misty Knight often appeared also, although never becoming official members. This partnership lasted until series final issue #125, with Cage blamed for the apparent death of Iron Fist.
Heroes for Hire (1996)
In 1996, as a consequence of the Onslaught and Heroes Reborn storylines, the Marvel Universe suffered a power vacuum after the Fantastic Four and Avengers were presumed killed. Following up on the status of the Oracle Corporation that Namor had set up in the pages of Namor, Jim Hammond (the Golden Age Human Torch) and Danny Rand decided to set up a new Heroes For Hire organization. Iron Fist recruited Luke Cage for this. Heroes for Hire debuted in 1997, with a core team consisting of Fist, Cage, and an assortment of hangers-on: Black Knight (Dane Whitman), a new White Tiger, Hercules, She-Hulk, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), the original Human Torch, and even Deadpool were included in the cast of the book, though much of the cast rotated in a Defenders-like manner, hired for missions as necessary. Heroes For Hire was written by John Ostrander and illustrated by Pasqual Ferry. It lasted for 19 issues before it was cancelled.
Heroes for Hire (2006)
A new Heroes for Hire series was developed as a spin-off of 2006's Civil War storyline. The book is written by Zeb Wells, with art by Terry Pallot. The team roster for the book is Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, the new Tarantula, Shang-Chi, Humbug, Orka, Black Cat and Paladin, the latter two joining for money. They serve as enforcers for the SHRA. After the murder of Goliath in battle, they made plans to take on Captain America.
After learning Captain America's location from a Pixiu, the team (minus Orka and Tarantula) tracks him down. While Misty and the team just want to talk and find a peaceful solution, they are betrayed by Paladin. Paladin disables the team with knock-out gas and attempts to capture Captain America. Shang-Chi's martial arts training had allowed him to hold his breath long enough to avoid the effects of the gas. Shang-Chi defeats Paladin and switches his uniform with Captain America. When SHIELD. arrives, Paladin is unintentionally taken into custody.
Shortly thereafter, Captain America and the Heroes For Hire part ways, and the "anti-regs" abandon their now compromised base. Meanwhile, the Heroes For Hire discover a black-market operation that surgically implanted superhumans with Skrull organs that would endow those who had the operation with Skrull shapeshifting abilities. Several of these hybrid Skrull-villains bust Misty Knight's old foe Ricadonna from prison. Ricadonna destroys the Heroes' headquarters by sending an explosive package, and puts hits out on the entire team. Most notable of these were Insecticide (the hit man sent to kill Humbug — Humbug neutralized him with help from his pet killer bees), Shadow Stalker (an old foe of Shang-Chi sent to kill him--Shang-Chi quickly humiliated him), and the gang of ninjas that attacked Tarantula when she was with her father. After they murder her father, Tarantula kills the entire gang herself. The team splits up in search of Ricadonna — while Misty Knight and Colleen Wing try to shake up the Toddler for information, Humbug uses his flies to discover Ricadonna's base--and also that she has somehow gained superpowers.
The team would also come into conflict with the Headmen, as well as travel to the Savage Land and encounter Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. Following these adventures, the Heroes For Hire became involved in World War Hulk, being captured aboard Hulk's stoneship.
- John Ostrander - Heroes for Hire #1–19 (July 1997–January 1999)
- Roger Stern - Heroes for Hire #1 (July 1997)
- Justin Gray - Heroes for Hire v2 #1-7 (October 2006 - April 2007)
- Jimmy Palmiotti - Heroes For Hire v2 #1-7 (October 2006 - April 2007)
- Zeb Wells - Heroes For Hire v2 #7-15 (April-December 2007)
- Pasqual Ferry - Heroes for Hire #1–10, 12, 15–16, 18–19 (July 1997–April 1998, June 1998, September 1998–October 1998, December 1998–January 1999); cover art #1–19 (July 1997–January 1999)
- Scott Kolins - Heroes for Hire #11 (May 1998)
- Martin Egeland - Heroes for Hire #13, 17 (July 1998, November 1998)
- Mary Mitchell - Heroes for Hire #14 (August 1998)
- Billy Tucci - Heroes for Hire v2 #1-4, (October 2006-January 2007)
- Tom Palmer - Heroes for Hire v2 #1, 2 (October & November 2006)
- Francis Portela - Heroes for Hire v2 #2-5 (November 2006-February 2007)
- Alvaro Rio - Heroes for Hire v2 #6-8 (March-May 2007)
- Clay Mann - Heroes For Hire v2 #9-14 (June-November 2007)
- Alvin Lee - Heroes for Hire v2 #14, 15 (November & December 2007)
The 2006 volume of Heroes for Hire was at the center of a controversy concerning increased sexuality in mainstream comic books due to the, what some considered, explicit cover art to Heroes for Hire issue 13. The controversy centered on what critics viewed as the proposed sexual violence against the characters of Black Cat, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. Marvel's official response to the outcry was to support the comic's creative team on the matter