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Streets of Glory No. 1, Heroes for Hire No. 14

Streets of Glory No. 1

Published by Avatar. Plot and script by Garth Ennis. Pencils and inks by Mike Wolfer.

The Deal: Garth Ennis, the guy known for really gross and violent comics like Preacher and The Boys, is back with his take on a Western. And he's doing it for gross-out indie publisher Avatar. This first issue sets things in motion ... but slowly. So far, a new settler gets his first taste of the American West -- and of the brutality of the West. Then a lone stranger shows up, and the bullets start flying.

The Good: I actually like Western comics, so it's always nice to see a pro like Ennis tackle the genre. He's crafted a violent tale here, rife with profanity and lots of blood. (Yes, that is good.) Similar to TV shows like Deadwood, Ennis is obviously trying to show the vicious nature of the time and place. And, hey, I liked Deadwood. I enjoy where the story is going so far, although it's still in the very early stages. But I'm anxious to see where it all leads.

The Bad: The artist Mike Wolfer is a skilled storyteller, but his figure drawing is a little ugly. He doesn't render faces well and his drawings of gore (and there are many) sometimes come off funny instead of shocking.

The Verdict: I like the story, but I'm not in love with the art. I'll stick around to see how Wolfer's art -- and the story -- develops.

Heroes for Hire No. 14

Published by Marvel Comics. Plot and script by Zeb Wells. Pencils by Alvin Lee and Clay Mann. Inks by Terry Pallot.

The Deal: It's the latest incarnation of the Heroes For Hire concept started with Luke Cage back in the 1970s. This time around, Luke Cage is absent but longtime allies Misty Knight and Colleen Wing are in charge, leading a weird crew of characters including the Black Cat and Shang Chi (yeah, that guy), among a few others.

The Good: The art is pretty decent. And when I say decent, I mean I can look at the page and imagine what the pencils look like. Hidden underneath some bad inks and not-so-great color, I can see the signs of an interesting art style. Although I am curious to know what the difference is between Lee's and Mann's work. Oh, and the cover is quite attractive.

The Bad: What is so hard about writing a Heroes For Hire comic? The concept -- heroes who fight crime for money -- is pretty straightforward. So why do writers just screw this book up so bad? I mean, I've never read an excellent Heroes For Hire story. And really don't see what's so hard about it. In this new volume of the series, Marvel has gathered a motley crew of heroes ... and I really don't give a rat's ass about any of them. I mean, when the most recognizable character in your comic book is a former Spider-Man supporting character, then you're in trouble. Who's next to join the team -- Aunt May? Wanna fix this book? Get rid of this whole crew of heroes and pick a pack that people actually care about. And one last thing: You can't have a Heroes For Hire book without Luke Cage. OK?

The Verdict: I'm not digging this. Not. One. Bit.

Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com

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