One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do…
Last week was a “fifth week”, which is traditionally sparse in the comic world, but surprisingly I’ve found very little worth pulling this week.
Thus, I’m pulling one book, which is coincidentally a first issue: it’s Villains for Hire No. 1 of 5 from Marvel for $2.99, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and featuring art by Renato Arlem. Who isn’t a fan of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, I ask you? They’re the Giffen and DeMatteis of Marvel, the Lucas and Spielberg of comics; they take the misfit toys and spit-shine them new and give them a purpose. So of course this is just a mini, and of course it won’t go over well. People don’t want their characters thrust into the light of common sense and made to seem realistic within the confines of their character; they want Peter Parker to always be Mary Jane’s boyfriend and never grow older than 25. So a series where criminals steal the Heroes for Hire idea and run with it to great effect is destined to fail.
This book is like Exiles before it, a book that by all accounts shouldn’t ever suck or fail, and everyone should be on board because there ought to be something for everyone, but alas, we’ll be lucky to get a trade of it for a decent price. I take that back; the only reason Marvel lets people like Abnett and Lanning take chances and play with their B-List characters is so it can slap a trade together and milk it for all it’s worth. But Marvel is a company owned by a ridiculously larger company, and its job at the end of the day isn’t to tell great stories but to tell stories just good enough to make a profit, so more power to Marvel. I’m the idiot who still buys Marvel’s product, all the while bitching about my troubles. A fool is defined as someone who repeats an action expecting a different outcome.
Villains for Hire is solicited as 1 of 5, but when you read the copy for issue No. 2, it reads 2 of 4. One can ascertain that Marvel lost faith in the thing based on initial orders before it even hit the shelf. Much like other recent Marvel full and miniseries, it’s been cut short before it’s even had a chance to be read. Things move so quickly nowadays that books will be written, drawn, printed and never sold because they’ll be predicted to fail Minority Report-style.
However, back to the subject at hand, this book is about the Purple Man as he starts his villains-for-hire business, which assembles the perfect villains for the client’s desired perfect crime. Endless possibilities condensed into four, or maybe five, issues… You know what? After all my posturing and complaining, I wouldn’t blame you if you just waited for the trade on this one.