Review: Hero for Hire #7

Hero for Hire #7 cover
Cover by Billy Graham

Hero for Hire #7
Published and © by Marvel, March 1973

Title: “Jingle Bombs!”
Synopsis: A disgruntled, WW-II-era veteran goes undercover and finds goodness in Luke Cage – then decides to nuke Manhattan anyway!

Writer: Steve Englehart
Penciler: George Tuska
Inker: Billy Graham

A fight scene from Hero for Hire #7
A silhouetted fight scene, drawn by George Tuska and Billy Graham in Hero for Hire #7.

Review: This is one of those crazy, Bronze Age adventures that offers a little of everything: Bad blaxploitation dialogue, a plot that’s an homage to “A Christmas Carol,” plenty of big punching, and even a little romance. Writer Steve Englehart helms this madcap Christmas adventure, and he peppers it with just a bit of the social relevance that was so popular at the time. For the most part, the art team of George Tuska and Billy Graham don’t mix well, but there are touches of inspiration here and there (e.g., a brightly colored, silhouetted fight scene).

Grade: B-

Cool factor: That cover! And can anyone hate too much on a story titled “Jingle Bombs!”?
Not-so-cool factor: How does Luke Cage get through a Christmas-themed issue without saying “Sweet Christmas!”? (Actually, according to Brian Cronin at CBR.com, Cage doesn’t utter his famous catchphrase until Power Man #27!) And another thing: How can Power Man not be phased by bullets, but get knocked out by a little Christmas bell?

Notable: This story is reprinted in Marvel Treasury Edition #8.

Character quotable: “Ain’t never gonna be no peace on Earth if all the small people keep tryin’ to act like big people – and the big people keep tryin’ to act like God!” – Luke Cage, hero for hire

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Dec. 15, 2009.

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