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Comic Book / Heroes for Hire

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From the streets of Harlem to K'un-Lun, they've got bad guys on the run! Click to see the 2006 team 

Heroes for Hire is a group of super heroes of Marvel Comics. It has been published in sporadic periods through the years. The main idea is that this Punch-Clock Hero group that perform hero type services sometimes outside of the normal heroes' areas of expertise. At times even the title itself is an Informed Attribute depending on the incarnation of the group and story arc, though money is always a factor.

First there was just Luke Cage, the original hero for hire, then he teamed up with Iron Fist, whose own title had been cancelled. Luke's series was retitled "Power Man & Iron Fist: Heroes for Hire", and the two became synonymous with the title of being Heroes for Hire. Supporting characters Misty Knight, a detective and sometimes girlfriend of Iron Fist, her partner Colleen Wing, martial arts expert would at times team up with the main two but not become official members until the 2006 series where Misty Knight officially takes over the organization. Throughout the various runs various other characters would team up/work for the organization on different missions.

The group at first was restricted to the pages of Power Man and Iron Fist but would only get its first book under the name Heroes for Hire in the 1990s when the Fantastic Four and the Avengers were presumed dead after the Onslaught event, it featured a rotating cast of characters and lasted for 19 issues. A third run, without Cage or Fist, but starring Misty & Colleen, took place between Civil War and World War Hulk, it came out in 2006 and lasted 15 issues. A fourth run debuted in 2010, officially lasted 12 issues although it had a one-shot Spider-Island tie in and a spin off mini series titled Villains for Hire that closed off that run.

Misty Knight made her live action debut in Luke Cage (2016), the third of five planned Netflix shows set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as played by Simone Missick. Likewise, Colleen Wing made her debut in Iron Fist (2017).

Heroes For Hire contains examples of:

  • Afro Asskicker: Luke Cage and Misty Knight. Luke's since ditched the afro, but Misty hasn't.
  • All According to Plan: The Earth's collective hive recruited Humbug to fight against the alien hive that come with Hulk. He goes along with it, but eventually he betrays everyone and joins the alien hive. Does our hive have a back up plan for this? No, it's better. They were counting on Humbug to betray them, and be selected as the host of the alien eggs. They poisoned him, so both Humbug and the alien eggs would die.
  • Amazon Brigade: Jerry Hogarth, occasional lawyer for Rand-Mitchum, has a private resort guarded entirely by good-looking women.
  • Ambiguous Situation: At the end of the 2006 run, Shang kills Humbug. He doesn't say anything before, during or after that. Was it a Mercy Kill? Or was it vengeance?
  • Amoral Attorney: "Big Ben" Donovan, a sort-of ally of Luke's during his early days. In the early part of Duffy's run, he suddenly turns out to be a serious bastard, even having no problem trying to get Luke killed for no readily apparent reason.
  • Armed Females, Unarmed Males: The 2006 lineup is a Gender-Equal Ensemble of four men and four women. The women are Misty Knight, a cyborg who uses guns; Colleen Wing, a Master Swordswoman; the Black Cat, who uses a Grappling-Hook Pistol and claw-tipped gloves; and Tarantula, who uses bladed gloves and boots. On the men's side, we have Shang Chi, whose martial arts skills allow him to defeat superhuman enemies; Humbug, who can control insects; the superstrong Atlantean Orka; and Paladin, who is the only one of the guys who uses weapons.
  • Armed Legs: Tarantula has blades on her boots.
  • Artistic License Paleontology: A dinosaur that had offspring with himself? Not terribly likely.
  • Attack Reflector: In the 1990s series, the Black Knight Dane Whitman gains the Sword of Light and the Shield of Night, where whenever the shield absorbs energy it channels it to the sword, which can then fire the energy back at the attacker.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tarantula is a trained martial artist and knife fighter. She also shows some knowledge in biology and engineering helping the heroes deduce how the Skrull organ transplant ring is doing their work.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Misty Knight and Iron Fist have this. They're an on-again off-again couple with a tendency to be a abrasive to one another one moment and engaging in rough passionate sex in another.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Princess Avi, a gal Danny Rand saved during the first run of Iron Fist, turns up in Duffy's run and turns out to be the sort of melodramatic despot Doctor Doom would tell to take it down a notch. Her previous behavior is handwaved as having pulled the wool over Danny's eyes (and in fairness, Danny was pretty naive at the time).
    • Luke enlists the brother of Reva Conners to assist him in one case, and he uses this line. He's lying, and eventually turns on Cage for reasons not fully explained.
  • Blood Knight: Tarantula in the 2006 series. Even when instructed not to kill she has not trouble gravely injuring an opponent much to her teammates' chagrin. Shang Chi grows worried that she is becoming a negative influence on him due to their mutual attraction.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: A ship with a huge bomb, heading to the Statue of Liberty, and with super heroes aboard? And they aren't even tied or restrained in any way? Of course that the bomb would be disabled!
  • Bounty Hunter: That's what they are there for mainly in the 2006 incarnation.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Humbug can't seem to go one issue without someone insulting him.
  • Catchphrase: Misty in volume 3 has "Hello, hero. Are you for hire?"
  • Celibate Hero: Shang likes Tarantula, but refuses to accept that. Savage sex destabilizes his Chi.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: The 1990s team was originally funded by Oracle Inc., a company funded by Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner. When Namor decided to sell Oracle to Stark-Fujikawa (the rebranded Stark Enterprises after Tony was killed and the company was bought following The Crossing), they would have kept going... until they decided to kick out Scott Lang and Luke Cage because of their criminal records. The group decided to disband instead.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shang-Chi, a Kung-Fu master, against mad scientists, a sorcerer, an android (or whatever Ruby Thursday is), a man with the body of an adult gorilla, and a killer robot that had just murdered Orka. None of them stood a chance.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded and inverted in a row by Paladin, when he fought Scorpion and got inside a warehouse of forgotten super-villain weapons. He took a random weapon, realized that it turns things into gold, and wondered what kind of fool could have had a ray to turn things into gold and use it for Bank Robberies. And then it hits him: "TURNS... THINGS... INTO... GOLD??? He immediately splits. Subverted in that he doesn't know the transmutation is only temporary, and transformed items will crumble into dust after.
  • Depower: Luke temporarily loses his powers for an issue. A jolt of electricity from an electric fence restores them. Go figure.
  • Doctor Whomage: Professor Justin Alphonse Gamble, an energetic, bizarrely dressed fat British man who pops up throughout the time stream, seen combating the incinerators who wheel around shouting their name at everything. Late of the Time Variance Agency, his mode of conveyance is a disappearing shop which helpfully changes to suit the time period. Clearly based on the Doctor, with probable special emphasis on the Fifth Doctor (the incumbent at the time of Gamble's first appearance, circa 1982).
  • Downer Ending: The original series ended with Danny being accidentally beaten to death by a superpowered teenager, who then dies, and Luke being blamed for it, having to go on the run. A few years down the line, it turned out Danny was mostly fine, and Luke's name was cleared (it was a plot by Master Khan to get at Danny. The teenager was actually a brainwashed Super-Skrull).
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Ricadonna. She had no powers in the "Daughters of the Dragon" limited series (and even so, she managed to cut Misty's bionic arm), now she has super-powers.
  • Fanservice: The 2006 all-female team. The comic has an indecent amount of Male Gaze on Misty.
  • Friend on the Force: Rafael Scarfe, Misty's former partner from her beat cop days, during the original run.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Luke, though not at standard comic book genius levels, is plenty smart and a quick learner.
    • Tarantula, who unexpectedly shows a level of intelligence similar to Reed Richards.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Bushmaster kick-started the first Power Man and Iron Fist team-up because he wanted Dr. Bernstein to make him like Luke Cage. That ended with him apparently dying, but he pops up in Heroes having survived... sort of. The experiment is now turning his body to steel, and he'd very much like this cured before it kills him.
  • Hello, Sailor!: In the second volume, the main characters find themselves in a stolen boat with the Coast Guard about to board them.
    Misty: What do we do?
    Colleen Wing: Relax, they're sailors. Just look cute.
    Shang-Chi: That might not work for all of us, Colleen.
    Black Cat: They are sailors, Shang.
  • I Have Your Wife: Professor Bernstein is forced to assist Bushmaster again because they're holding his new wife hostage, having abducted her on their honeymoon.
  • Intro Dump: The first 2006 issue introduced everyone, narrated by Misty Knight.
  • Kneel Before Zod: The hive queen orders Humbug to accept her and kneel before her... and he does.
  • Licking the Blade: Tarantula licks her blades after one battle.
  • Lovely Angels: Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. The two of them happen to be so badass, even the Rhino is afraid of them. They are good friends and normally appear together, but the epitome of their Lovely Angels dynamic can be seen in Daughters of the Dragon.
  • Mission Control: Misty in the 2010 series, who is unable to enter the field because she's being held prisoner by the Puppet Master.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The Heroes For Hire... and Paladin.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution
    • Paladin doesn't care about anything, as long as he gets paid. Bill Foster died in the Civil War? The dinosaur is sad for being set apart from the ape? Who cares? Paladin only looks out for himself.
    • The hive queen follows Hulk and Miek in their vendetta, but she's not interested in it. She's more interested in creating a new hive on planet Earth.
  • Playing Possum: Iron Fist wins his rematch with Sabretooth by feigning that Creed has slashed his back up. When Sabretooth gets close, Danny clobbers him.
  • Punch-Clock Hero:
    • Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Cage is so dedicated to his job that he once shook down Dr. Doom himself for just $200 owed to him. That said, if Luke and Danny feel the job is not worth it (like, for example, a vigilante going after an asshole slumlord) they'll only do what the contract requires.
    • Throughout the various other incarnations of the team, the dynamic has shifted a little now and then - to the point that in the fourth version, "for hire" means "available to do a favor for Misty Knight".
  • Rotating Protagonist: This is the hook for the fourth volume: Misty Knight uses her contacts to "maximize the potential of [her] address book", calling in favors from different heroes in every issue. The only constant besides Knight herself is Paladin.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Don't tell the kid that the evil Doombot he has found is, well, evil. He thinks it's his best friend in the world.
  • Shoo the Dog: When a pair of villains go after Luke and Danny, Luke bundles their secretary on a plane to Canada. She objects to this, but Like is very insistent, threatening to drag her onto the plane if he has to if it means she's not in danger.
  • Shout-Out: Several panels in the fourth series depict Misty Knight's lips near the microphone that she's using to contact the current hero, evoking similar imagery from the film The Warriors when the radio host is informing other gangs of the protagonists' whereabouts.
  • Spiritual Successor: The 2006 run is a successor of the "Daughters of the Dragon" limited series (with only Misty Knight and Colleen Wing doing work for hire, but without using the group's name). Humbug, Orka, Otis, Ricadonna, have all appeared there as well.
  • The One Guy: Shang-Chi was the only male member of the group during the Civil War.
  • Theory Tunnelvision: Misty lost her arm to a bomb as a beat cop, and this has left her with severe trauma. When she sees a formerly convicted terrorist running around, just as a bomb goes off in a fancy restaurant, she immediately decides he's the guilty party and refuses to listen to anyone else's opinions on the matter.
  • The Team Benefactor: Iron Fist would sometimes fund the group if Luke Cage was hardup for cash.
  • Tranquil Fury: Averted. When the headmen kill Orka, Shang-Chi gives him his last rites (with the villains right there). When it was done, Otis reminded him that it was not the time for his Zen calm. Shang-Chi calmly agrees... and then all hell broke loose.
  • We Help the Helpless: Power Man and Iron Fist, though if the cause is just enough, they'll waive the fee.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Paladin betrayed the Heroes For Hire, but still, he gives them well-paid missions and in later incarnations is one of Misty's closest agents/friends.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Invoked. The owner of some jewelry hired the heroes because criminals stole his diamonds, and he wanted them back. They investigated, and discovered that the Grim Reaper and the Man-Ape were doing this to finance a terrorist campaign, and sought to blow up a bomb at the Statue of Liberty. In a frantic battle, the Heroes for Hire foiled their plan, got rid of the bomb, stopped the ship and saved the symbol of liberty in the free world! "Wow. What a story. And my diamonds?" A few lame excuses later, the man closed his portfolio with the money that he was going to pay, and walked away.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Misty Knight gave one of those to Iron Man for the death of Goliath during the Civil War.
  • World of Action Girls: The 2006 team was filled of girls: Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Black Cat and Tarantula. And none of them plays it soft, they all kick ass.