As I've said before, Heroes for Hire is one of those concepts that you always want to succeed but rarely seems to manage the feat. So far, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been keeping the latest iteration cooking with gas, but they're going to have to break their occasional habit of crossing the line between clever and "clever."
That's a trap they fell into during their Infestation event over at IDW, as they fell in obsessive love with their cute little buzzword "artillica," meaning a fusion of magic and technology. In Heroes for Hire #7, they're obviously still in love with artillica, even though in Marvel they call it "demonica." Worse than that, the Satanically enchanted weapons fire magic bullets caleld "damnunition." It's hard to decide if that's fun or just painful.
Other than that, however, the H4H storyline is fun and interesting, further highlighting how the mercenary Paladin is being dragged towards legitimate heroism kicking and screaming all due to his need to impress his boss, one Misty Knight. In this mission to stop an Atlantean street drug called Hook, he's had his ribs broken by Batroc the Leaper and is forced to play second banana as Spider-Man takes the lead on putting the kibosh on the bad guys. The wall-crawler's pro bono altruism bruises Paladin's ego, spikes his jealousy and beats the snot out of all his reasons for doing what he does, no matter how hard he insists that being a professional should give him more respect than the random vigilantes and not less.
Also fun is the idea that the Marvel Universe at large still views Spider-Man as an ex-pro wrestler. It was referenced in Amazing Spider-Man #661 with the Avengers Academy, and here, when an impromptu gladiator fight breaks out pitting Spidey against a new tank-like version of the Scorpion (along with a fleet of velociraptors for good measure), it comes up again. It makes you kinda hope that the late, lamented and legendary "Macho Man" Randy Savage might've stopped wrestling to take up crimefighting before his untimely passing. Here's hoping Spider-Man pulls off a flying elbow to crush Batroc next issue.
As far as the art goes, there's something to be desired. Brad Walker again steps aside, this time for Tim Seeley, and while he's decent enough, the unnatural, awkwardly-contorted 'look at my bum' poses of Misty Knight are one of my pet peeves. Draw a woman. Don't draw a woman showing off her assets to nobody in particular for no reason, please.
Next issue, we're promised Misty taking a personal hand in things, and as long as DnA can keep their too-cutesy in check, this should continue to be a fun and funky series.