“Neighborhood”: Reeling from the fallout from the previous story arc, Misty Knight and Paladin are trying to re-establish the credibility of Heroes For Hire. While still on the trail of the Atlantean drug Hook, Paladin is jumped by a group of ninja who are wielding Atlantean weaponry, only to have Spider-Man show up to lend a hand. The only problem is Spidey and Paladin have history and neither are too fond of one another. However, they’ll have to put their issues aside, because the ninja were just the tip of the iceberg, as Batroc the Leaper makes an appearance and he’s pretty pissed at the interference.
If you’re just now coming onto the series, Abnett and Lanning do a good job of bringing the reader up to speed on what’s been going on without it cluttering up the progress of the current story. It moves at a great pace and the writing duo gives a huge dose of entertaining dialog to go along with the action and humor. The Paladin/Spider-Man dynamic is done very well, as Paladin is a mercenary and Spidey just doesn’t think that a superhero should only save someone if they’re getting paid to do it. They’ve had problems since the first time they met, and this felt like one of those fun issues from years ago. Abnett and Lanning nailed their banter perfectly, and though Spidey comes off as annoying, we all know it’s what he does best, because we’ve seen what he can do in a fight over the years. There’s also the bit of info on how Misty actually pays some of the heroes, because I was really confused as to what Ghost Rider would need money for, but that’s cleared up right here as well.
Walker moves this story from dazzling splash pages to fast moving panels with ease, and with the assist from Hennesey and Ramos the art is superb. The page where Spidey makes his entrance is classic, along with the in your face reveal of Batroc as he introduces his foot to Paladin’s jaw. Misty’s look is consistent, and I love the fact that she still rocks her classic afro, but it’s been updated and still looks good with respect to her original design.
If you missed out on the first arc I’d suggest picking this issue up, because if all titles read this well and looked this good the comic buying public would have nothing to complain about. Heroes For Hire is a hit, and if you didn’t know, now you do!