By Ben Morse
With the changes wrought to the streets of New York City and beyond during Shadowland, the Marvel Universe's harried citizens need heroes now more than ever-fortunately for them, they're once again for hire.
"It's a treat for us to be playing with some of the all-time classic street-level Marvel characters, and it makes a very refreshing change of pace for us-about as far away from the big scale cosmic stuff as you can get," says Lanning. "We were very keen to exercise some different areas of our imagination, and this is the ideal place."
While HEROES FOR HIRE marks a dramatic shift from recent work on titles like NOVA and events such as War of Kings for Abnett and Lanning, they will continue using the skills and tools that have put them among the pantheon of Marvel's most popular creators.
Don't expect the Heroes to operate like the Avengers or X-Men though, as trying to get loners like
"It's not a team, at least not in the traditional sense," explains Lanning of the sprawling cast. "[There is] a structure that allows mission-specific teams to be 'hired' depending on the type of problem that's got to be solved. So there will be some really fun and often unexpected guest star combos, depending on what the threat is. Characters often get 'hired' without realizing how or why they're being used."
|Heroes for Hire|
Given that their GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY run helped elevate previously forgotten characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot into unprecedented popularity, the writers have high hopes for the characters now coming into their care, and hope to vault several to forefront of the Marvel Universe.
"We're only picking heroes on the basis we like them and we think it's going to be really fun to play with them," says Abnett. "So far, Moon Knight, Falcon and Ghost Rider have exceeded our expectations in fun-factor. So has Black Widow."
"If anybody's going to emerge from this as unexpectedly cool and more interesting than people realize, it's Paladin," forecasts Lanning. "We like to play with neglected or underappreciated characters from the Marvel Handbook. Paladin is about to break out and kick ass."
"Punisher won't play anyone's game, so he's going to be a bit of an 'in case of emergency, unleash Frank' option," notes Abnett. "It's great fun to be writing him again."
Finally, for fans that associate the Heroes for Hire name with the classic adventures of Power Man, Iron Fist and friends, have no fear, as Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning number among your ranks.
"We fought to get the title for the book, and we wanted it because it's iconic and there are fundamental aspects of this [series] that connect to
"This is, organically, the next stage of development," adds Abnett. "It relates to the previous Heroes stories the way our GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY related to-and respected-previous incarnations of the Guardians.
"Read it-you'll find out just how much fun it is."
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