Reading “Heroes for Hire” #7, I’m reminded of my youth and picking up random issues of “Web of Spider-Man” at the grocery store. This comic features Spider-Man in a loose team-up with Misty Knight and Paladin, taking on some faceless thugs with guns that happen to have Batroc the Leaper working with them. I don’t know about you, but that screams ‘third-tier Spider-Man comic from the 1990s’ to me, in good and bad ways.
A big positive is the lighter nature of the comic. It’s not ‘end of the world’ stakes and Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning treat things as such. Spider-Man cracks wise, Paladin gets grief from a cab driver, and Misty Knight is the professional holding it all together. That’s a good dynamic and one that mixes action and snappy banter well. The story is a simple one that lends itself to lots of action and a few twists, almost giving the comic an entertaining disposability that you don’t often get. While some may see that as a negative, sometimes you just want a comic that you can read, be entertained by, and then forget about.
Tim Seeley’s art is competent and tells the story clearly. His Spider-Man is energetic and almost always in motion, dynamically leaping from one place to another, while the snarky look on the cab driver’s face while he mocks Paladin for needing a ride is absolutely perfect. Stylistically, his art has some rough spots in his compositions, both of pages and characters. The shots he chooses don’t always highlight characters in the best way. Like Paladin in the cab, until that final panel with the snarky grin, we see him from behind and the scene loses some impact from that. The splash page where Batroc first appears is awkward in its angle and how the characters are laid out.
The story itself doesn’t quite come together either. The stakes seem so low that it’s hard to know why anyone should bother at all. Spider-Man seems less competent than usual and not exactly ‘Avengers caliber’ in how he handles the situation. There’s a sense that, years from now, someone may pick up this comic and wonder who thought it was a good idea for Spider-Man to be shown like this.
“Heroes for Hire” #7 is an entertaining comic on the whole and has a good dynamic. Spider-Man’s inclusion seems somewhat random when there are plenty of others heroes who could fill a similar role. But, contrasting him with Paladin works for the point that Abnett and Lanning are trying to make. Disposable fun that would have been at home as an issue of “Web of Spider-Man.”