Heroes for Hire

Heroes for Hire

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Heroes for Hire traces its roots back to the one-man "Hero for Hire" business founded by Luke Cage, which offered superhuman security and investigation services for a fee. Cage later went into business with the martial artist Iron Fist as Heroes for Hire, a profitable partnership that lasted for years until circumstances forced the duo to break up, though they remained good friends.

When most of New York's leading super heroes seemingly died during the Onslaught disaster, Iron Fist enacted a radical two-part plan: he secretly performed a ritual that would gradually merge the earthly plane with his other-dimensional childhood home K'un-Lun, the mystical monarchy of which could impose new order on a chaotic Earth; at the same time, he also began to rebuild Heroes for Hire, feeling that the world needed inspirational heroes more than ever, with or without K'un-Lun. By this time, Rand's family business, Rand-Meachum, had been bought out by Namor the Sub-Mariner's Oracle, Inc., including Rand-Meachum's inactive Heroes for Hire subsidiary. Under the direction of Oracle executive Jim Hammond, an expanded Heroes for Hire reopened as a partly charitable, partly profit-driven enterprise.

The initial roster included Iron Fist, the Olympian demigod Hercules (who soon quit due to alcoholic excess) and the White Tiger, an actual tiger who had been evolved into a super-humanoid female form by the High Evolutionary. She was created to seek and destroy the Evolutionary's evil rogue creation, the Man-Beast, and felt the Heroes for Hire might be useful allies; however, she had difficulty functioning in human society, especially after she developed an unrequited love for Iron Fist. Luke Cage refused to rejoin the business at first, but signed on after the self-styled Master of the World secretly urged him to act as a double agent within the group. While Cage sympathized with the Master's plans for a better world, he objected to the Master's ruthless methods and ultimately helped the Heroes for Hire destroy the Master's operation. By this time, the group had taken on several more recruits, such as team scientist the Black Knight, Ant-Man, Eternal warrior-scholar Thena and corporate counsel She-Hulk, plus various temporary operatives and civilian staff.

Later, the Heroes for Hire and mutant speedster Quicksilver intervened in a three-way war between the forces of the High Evolutionary, mutant terrorist leader Exodus, and the Man-Beast; after that conflict, the Black Knight quit the team to mentor the victorious Evolutionary's Knights of Wundagore. Exodus and the Man-Beast were rendered harmless, and the White Tiger-no longer able to bear the burden of human emotion-had the Evolutionary de-evolve her back into an ordinary tiger. Shortly thereafter, Namor sold Oracle to the Stark-Fujikawa corporation, which fired Cage and Ant-Man because of their prison records and imposed tighter controls on the rest of the group, all of whom resigned in protest. In the meantime, most of the group's ex-members remain active as super heroes, and Iron Fist eventually thwarted the spell that would have brought K'un-Lun to Earth, having realized the folly of his one-time master plan.

When the Civil War|Superhuman Registration Act was passed, Misty Knight decided to re-establish Heroes for Hire once again and recruited Colleen Wing, Humbug, Shang-Chi, Tarantula, Black Cat, Paladin and Orka. The first sortie of this new Heroes for Hire was against the newly reformed Mandarin's Avatars who they managed to beat quite easily. In a few days time they also managed to subdue Shockwave, Grindhouse, Goldbug and Ghost Maker along with many others. Eventually an old foe, Ricadonna, escaped from prison to enact her revenge against Misty and Colleen, and Heroes for Hire had to use underworld contacts to find her - namely the Toddler. Ricadonna underwent surgery to become more powerful than before, but the team defeated her again. The group was hired for other jobs which led them into conflicts against the Headmen, Grim Reaper, the dangers of the Savage Land and more. In the end, the Heroes for Hire were destined to fail, mainly because members like Paladin and Humbug had their own agendas that didn't coincide with the others. The group disbanded, everyone going their separate ways.

Despite her previous team's disintegration, Misty reorganized a non-profit Heroes for Hire, remaining behind the scenes as "Control" and hiring individuals with specific skills for select missions, mainly exchanging favors or information. Purple Man (Zebediah Kilgrave) intended to use Misty to covertly build a criminal empire by eliminating the competition and manipulated reformed villain Puppet Master (Philip Masters) to kidnap Misty early on in her endeavor, inducing her into a coma while controlling her team. Earpiece implants given to the heroes allowed Puppet Master to enslave them, and the cybernetics in Misty's prosthetic arm improved his control. He targeted Atlantean drug dealers distributing ultra-addictive narcotic Hook, Baron Brimstone selling cursed Demonica Soulcutter guns, and Simon Serrati for trafficking women and exotic animals from the Savage Land. Paladin discovered Misty's disappearance and enlisted Iron Fist's help to find her. Meanwhile, Misty rejected Puppet Master's influence and was attacked by a mind-controlled Punisher (Frank Castle) upon waking, but she destroyed Puppet Master's equipment, freeing his servants, and Punisher shot Puppet Master, leaving him in a coma. Although Misty wanted to terminate Heroes for Hire, Paladin convinced her to carry on until they uncovered Puppet Master's employer. Attempting to earn her credibility back, she sent Paladin to trail a Hook shipment, attracting Spider-Man (Peter Parker)'s attention, whose help Misty also enlisted since he had a mutual interest to get Hook off the streets. Unknown to Misty, Purple Man restructured many criminal operations she shutdown, and when her hired heroes were trapped by Batroc and Scorpion (Mac Gargan), she entered the field, saved them and closed down Purple Man's enterprise. Mayor J. Jonah Jameson hired Misty's group to contain infected individuals during Manhattan's "Spider-Island" epidemic, and they aided disaster victims and quelled a superhuman breakout at the Raft penitentiary during the Asgardian Serpent (Cul)'s assault on Earth. In the Raft's infirmary, Purple Man tried to kill the comatose Puppet Master but was stopped by Elektra and Shroud (Maximilian Coleridge); he escaped after pretending to have been defeated by Elektra. Learning new Hook distributors established outfits in Los Angeles and San Francisco, sourcing directly from New Atlantis and shipping it to New York, Heroes for Hire persuaded Atlantean monarch Namor to dissolve the international, interspecies narcotics network. Misty later teamed with a revived, vengeful Puppet Master and hired several villains as a new team to counter Purple Man's similarly structured crew, with Paladin posing as Scourge (Frank Simpson). Their efforts led to Purple Man's incarceration.

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