Namor: How Marvel’s Original Mutant Helped Revive Luke Cage’s Heroes For Hire

Namor’s desire to improve the surface world resulted in the creation of Oracle Incorporated and the subsequent resurgence of its dormant subsidiary, Heroes for Hire.

One of Marvel’s oldest published characters, Namor the Sub-Mariner is a half-human, half-Atlantean mutant prince known for his combination of superhuman and aquatic abilities. While he is an antihero who will take on former friends and villains alike, he is also a conservationist, and Namor’s creation of Oracle Inc. kicks off the revival of the previously successful concept known as Heroes for Hire.

Appearing for the first time in 1978 Power Man and Iron Fist # 54, by Ed Hannigan, Lee Elias, Frank Giacoia, Keith Pollard and Irving Watanabe, Heroes for Hire was an initiative created by Luke Cage and Iron Fist designed to provide protection and investigation services. Although the show initially came to an end when Cage was accused of murdering Rand, it has since seen multiple revivals, including one at the hands of Oracle Inc.

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In the 1990s Namor the Submarine # one, By John Byrne, Bob Wiacek, Glynis Oliver and Ken Lopez, it is revealed that Namor used the wealth accumulated by the sunken treasure to fund Oracle Inc. in hopes of inspiring positive environmental and ecological change.

After the Onslaught crossover ended with the Avengers and Fantastic Four thought of as dead and trapped in an alternate reality, Danny Rand wanted to resurrect Heroes for Hire as a means to inspire hope in a world in need of heroes. With the family business, Rand-Meachum (including the dormant Heroes for Hire), previously bought by Oracle Inc. from Namor, Rand worked alongside Oracle executive (and original Human Torch) Jim Hammond to revive the initiative beginning in 1997. Heroes for Hire. by Roger Stern, John Ostrander and Pasqual Ferry.

Although the first three members to sign were Iron Fist (Rand), the Olympic demigod Hercules, and the (new) White Tiger, the team later expanded to include Black Knight, Hulk, Ant-Man, and Deadpool, among others. Despite an initial attempt to recruit former partner Luke Cage that ended in a refusal, a confrontation with the World Master later caused Cage to reconsider.

The race, which lasted 19 issues, saw the team battle many villains, including Nitro, the U-Foes, Shockwave, the Deviants, Acolytes, and Malekith, to name a few.

RELATED: Iron Fist: Marvel’s Version of Mortal Kombat Was Nearly the End of K’un-Lun.

The resurgence of Heroes for Hire came to an end in Issue 19 when Namor revealed to Hammond that he had sold Oracle Inc. to Stark-Fujikawa out of a feeling that it had failed in its intended purpose. The new owners demanded control of the missions that were taken and, inadvertently harboring two ex-criminals, Cage and Scott Lang’s Ant-Man, wanted to fire them. Dissatisfied with the changes, the team withdrew, leaving Heroes for Hire missing once more.

The Heroes for Hire initiative has been the subject of multiple revivals over the years, including the Civil war era team, where Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, and Black Cat were tasked with hunting down those who refused to sign the Superhumans Registration Act. Since then, the team has largely kept its roots as a flexible affiliation of street-level heroes, usually with classic members like Knight, Luke Cage, or Iron Fist somewhere in the mix.

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