Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Have anti-hero will travel: Paladin rocks HforH


Have anti-hero will travel: Paladin rocks HforH   By Byron Brewer, Managing Editor HEROES FOR HIRE #2 PREVIEW The anti-hero Paladin has always been a favorite of mine when I am reading the less cosmic books put out by Marvel. Although the mercenary is neither hero nor villain, his actions often bring him into contact with both the colorful and darker inhabitants of Marvel’s concrete canyons. Now I understand writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, those who gave life to our beloved Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy for awhile, are teaming with former GotG artist Brad Walker to reinvigorate the old Heroes for Hire franchise. And the purple man called Paladin is part of the adventure headed your way Jan. 12 in Heroes for Hire #2. Paladin is a mercenary and private investigator whose past is largely unrevealed. When first seen, he sought Daredevil while engaged in an assignment to track down the Purple Man and battled Daredevil. He clashed with Daredevil a second time after the crimefighter inadvertently interfered with Paladin's search for the Purple Man. Paladin allied with Daredevil in battle against the Cobra, the Jester and Mister Hyde, who were under control of the Purple Man. Paladin next battled the Phantasm. Paladin aided the Wasp against Baron Brimstone, acquired a modified uniform, and began a romance with Ms. Van Dyne. Paladin aided the Avengers in battle against the Masters of Evil, and allied with Spidey and the Wasp against mobsters; despite respecting Spider-Man's abilities, Paladin is incredulous that Spider-Man offers his heroic services without charge (Paladin burst out laughing upon first learning this), while Spider-Man in turn is disgusted by Paladin's mercenary ways. Paladin was later employed by Silver Sable (another HforH denizen) to investigate a conspiracy which threatened her native country of Symkaria, and he allied with Spider-Man again. Paladin was hired by Diamondback to raid the Serpent Society headquarters. He was captured, but freed by Captain America. Paladin accompanied Cap in his search for Diamondback, the Asp and Black Mamba. With his new allies, Paladin battled Superia’s horde of female superhumans. In the 1990 one-shot The Punisher: No Escape, he was offered $10 million by mobster Vincent Mangano to kill The Punisher. Paladin agreed to this arrangement, but did not succeed, and in the ensuing fight both of his legs were broken by the U.S. Agent. Paladin once took down Daredevil with a sniper rifle from a helicopter at a great distance. He did so for the FBI, in exchange for getting his record expunged. The hit, while serious, was not fatal, though it did lead to Daredevil's arrest. Paladin was a main character in the 2006 Heroe for Hire series although, as Misty Knight said, he was just there for the money. As it turns out, he was a traitor to the group, only using the Heroes as a means to hunt down Captain America for SHIELD as part of Civil War. Paladin was a member of the post-Secret Invasion Thunderbolts. Now under the direct control of Norman Osborn, the Thunderbolts served as his personal black ops team. Hired to assassinate Elektra for $82 million, Paladin broke into H.A.M.M.E.R. headquarters. However Elektra overpowered him by choking him with one of her teeth that was loosened when Paladin punched her. Begging for his life, Paladin gave Elektra the key to escape her prison. During Siege, Paladin and the other Thunderbolts are sent to Asgard with the mission of stealing the Spear of Odin (Gungnir) for Osborn. After fighting through a contingent of Asgardians, they manage to find it. Paladin, finally having had enough of serving a madman like Osborn, turns on his teammates and tries to take back the Spear. After being attacked by fellow Thunderbolt Grizzly, Paladin is saved by Ant-Man. Grizzly then loses the Spear to Mr. X, who is in turn easily defeated by Quicksilver. Ant-Man recovers the Spear and gives it to Paladin, who decides to take the Spear in order to keep Osborn from using its power for his own ends. Paladin then departs from Asgard after saying goodbye to Ant-Man. During the Shadowland storyline, Paladin is paired with Silver Sable, Misty Knight and Shroud when Daredevil’s Hand ninjas end up targeting members of the mafia. Many of the stories of those characters continue in the new Heroes for Hire! Heroes for Hire #2 hits stores Jan. 12!