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Bring on the Bad Guys 2011

Bring on the Bad Guys: Villains for Hire

A week devoted to the dark side of Marvel begins with Misty Knight and her suspicious new super squad

By Jim Beard & Ben Morse

A hero can be best measured by the opposition they face, and in the Marvel Universe, the tyrants, thugs and cosmic menaces thrown against our champions clearly mark them as the greatest of all.

Yet “villain” often proves too shallow a term when it comes to the antagonists stacked against the Avengers, X-Men, and others. Their motivations frequently run deeper than mere lust for power or desire for destruction. In many ways, they’re the heroes of their stories.

And in other ways, they’re just pan bad guys.

Join us for a week of examining some of Marvel’s greatest villains and the threats that will define our heroes in the days to come, reliving their histories and peering into their futures.

VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1 preview inks by Renato Arlem

Someone’s currently looking to hire villains. Who? Misty Knight, the detective with the bionic arm, once on the side of the angels, but now—who knows?

They say you can read someone’s character by the company they keep; well, Misty’s keeping some very bad company these days…

TIGER SHARK: An Olympic-level swimmer enhanced with genes from Namor the Sub-Mariner and a real tiger shark, this watery villain’s responsible for the death of the King of Atlantis’ father.

SPEED DEMON: A chemist of questionable motives who received speed powers from a mysterious cosmic entity, this footloose bad guy’s tangled with Spider-Man and been a member of the Squadron Sinister, the Sinister Syndicate and the Thunderbolts.

CROSSFIRE: An FBI agent-turned mercenary, this crafty criminal possesses cybernetic senses which grant him incredible marksman abilities and the upper hand against costumed crusaders.

NIGHTSHADE: A brilliant scientist and master of mind-warping chemicals and death-dealing robots, this nasty villainess once controlled New York’s underworld and a cadre of werewolves.

BOMBSHELL: A juggling explosives expert with militant feminist leanings, this beautiful bomber carries a personal arsenal with weapons for every occasion.

STILT-WOMAN: Mysterious successor to the original Stilt-Man, this would-be villainess sports a high-tech suit of expanding armor to walk tall and throw down.

VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1 preview inks by Renato Arlem

However, even as Misty gathers her crew, The Purple Man, that mind-controlling super villain supreme, seeks to assemble his own team of baddies. The revelation of his plans will soon be known, but his choices of villains can’t be anything but bad news…

AVALANCHE: A mutant powerhouse with seismic abilities, this villain utilizes his earth-quaking abilities to bedevil the X-Men at every turn.

SHOCKER: A professional criminal sporting “vibro-smasher” gauntlets, this cut-throat’s given Spider-Man the shakes for years.

MONSTER: A newcomer, this suspicious scientist has become an unearthly horror who can unleash an opponent’s worst fear back on them.

BUSHMASTER: A cybernetically-enhanced villain, this former member of the Serpent Society lashes out with a snake-like body and needle-sharp arm “fangs.”

DEATH-STALKER: A new super villainess on the scene, this enigma carries the name of a former Daredevil foe, but remains a mystery…for now.

SCOURGE: Get back to us…

In November, these two volatile forces begin barreling down an inevitable collision course in VILLAINS FOR HIRE #0.1, followed by a five-issue limited series kicking off the next month, all written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Renato Arlem.

“We’re heading for a full on smash,” promises Abnett. “Two rival crews of bad guys, each one run by an unseen, all-seeing handler like the Heroes for Hire, fighting for control of the East Coast crime empire! The book’s characterized by gritty, realistic street level action, the very fun use of cool and sometimes neglected characters with great talents and powers, intricate plotting—and you won’t believe the twists and shocks we’ve got in store!”

VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1 preview inks by Renato Arlem

Who does Lanning warn to watch out for?

“Tiger Shark—the ocean's answer to Sabretooth! Crossfire and Scourge—two of the deadliest weapon-slingers in the biz! The all-new, all-deadly female Death-Stalker! The devastating Avalanche!”

Heaven help the heroes.

Come back tomorrow when Skottie Young reveals his plans for the “reformed” Master of Magnetism in MAGNETO: NOT A HERO

Join the conversation with your thoughts about Marvel’s bad guys on Twitter with the hash tag #TheBestVillains

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