Hero For Hire #8-9
Issue(s): Hero For Hire #8, Hero For Hire #9
They turn out to be robots...
...and the boss of course turns out to be Dr. Doom.
Cage smashes the robots but Doom skips on the bill, heading home to Latveria.
Cage forcibly "borrows" a rocket from the Fantastic Four...
...in order to chase Doom down for the $200 bill. Thinking the FF is invading, Doom sends his guards out to attack, but Cage finds himself in the middle of a robot revolution and is able to fight his way through. He is contacted by the weird spheroid Faceless One, who tries to get Cage to agree to an alliance.
Cage agrees but doesn't let the alien assassinate Doom, and drives him off.
Doom can't believe that Cage would come all that way for $200...
...but after a fight...
...he gives Cage his money after Cage stops the Faceless One's assassination attempt.
Cage goes home, uninterested in the results of the revolution (which Doom puts down).
Back at the Baxter Building, Cage tells Mr. Fantastic he owes him a favor. Reed will collect on that when he needs a substitute for the Thing in a few years.
Englehart is a decent writer, probably the best we've seen so far. He's definitely in exploitation mode here but he does a good job at it and is self aware enough to pull it off without seeming too racist (At one point the Faceless One tries to appeal to Cage by talking about how Doom is using robots as slaves, and Cage tells him to go to hell because he knows that the alien doesn't care about American history. The Faceless One agrees that he was being overly dramatic.)
In the skirting the Comics Code category, a thug Cage is chasing is "scared spitless", and a Jewish lady refers to Cage as "a qviet friendly schvartze boy".
Issue #11 has an apology from Steve Englehart for the schvartze comment. He says "I, in my non-Jewish ignorance, didn't realize it could be considered insulting." Then how did he know to use it?
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Medusa has replaced the Invisible Girl in the FF at this point. The Thing makes a reference to the Baxter Building's landlord trying to kick out the FF, but i don't know if that's related to anything specific.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (5): showClaire Temple, D.W. Griffith, Dr. Doom, Faceless One, Human Torch, Luke Cage, Medusa, Mr. Fantastic, Thing
"Son of a witch!" Ha Ha!
Steve Englehart stated in a later interview that he was trying for a Dick Tracy villain-type feel for Cage's opponents, which explains why they're a bit silly from today's view.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | August 14, 2011 9:49 PM
in his book, Sean Howe states that George Tuska tricked Englehart into using that term, as a joke, i guess.
Posted by: Jay Gallardo | March 12, 2013 7:15 AM
Is that a typo when you say that Gerber is the one who apologized?
Posted by: S | March 12, 2013 1:19 PM
"Typo" is generous but yeah, it was a mistake. ;-) The note is signed "Stainless Steve" but it had to have been Englehart. Fixed it in the entry.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 12, 2013 3:50 PM
I's say being the "Where's my money, honey?" issue is worth +1 on the Historical Significance scale...
Posted by: BU | August 5, 2014 10:17 PM
In principle, I really like the idea behind this story - the difference between Doom and Cage's attitudes toward money - and if Cage only had to walk across town to the Latverian embassy it would have made sense. But as it is the cost of the fuel alone for the rocket would have been many times what Cage was owed, so Cage just comes off as a jerk who takes advantage of the FF's hospitality.
Posted by: Andrew | February 28, 2015 8:18 PM
I always thought these issues served a twofold purpose: First, to "open up" Cage to the Marvel Universe and explore his interactions with more established characters, and secondly to put him in a story out of the street-level element, much like Spider-Man and Daredevil have done. It says a lot that unlike Spidey and DD, Luke doesn't have a three-panel inner monologue about being in over his head.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | May 20, 2017 11:07 AM
Serious question, what would that $200 be today with inflation? I'm guessing $200 was like 3 grand in 1973? - Witless Wis
Posted by: Wis | January 16, 2018 7:41 AM
I often wonder about this kind of thing. The website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a CPI Inflation Calculator that says $200 in Feb. 1973 (when #9 went on sale) had the same buying power as $1,149.30 in Dec. 2017.
Then there's the comic price standard, #9 was .20c, so back then $200 could have bought 1,000 comics. That many comics priced at $3.99 would cost $3,990.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | January 16, 2018 8:26 AM
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