A special comic published by Marvel Comics
. Heroes for Hope
was published in 1985 and the proceeds from its sale were given for famine relief in Africa.
It is the mid-80's and social activism within the entertainment industry is concentrated upon the famine that has gripped northern Africa. Members of the television, movie, and music industries begin to raise social awareness by marrying their art with the cause with mixed results. Never ones to miss a bandwagon, the comics industry decided to address this social ill. Both of the major U.S. comics publishers came out with special issues designed to address the famine and the one published by Marvel Comics was called Heroes for Hope starring the X-Men.
Marvel Comics chose to take an everybody in the pool concept to the issue, by including many different writers, pencilers, inkers, and colorists in the project. The storyline itself had five different creators who included Chris Claremont, Ann Nocenti, Berni Wrightson, Jim Shooter and Jim Starlin. These writers fleshed out the basic story, but to allow additional writers to be involved in the project, Marvel decided to allow the scripting of individual pages to be put in the hands of different writers. This means that a single comic had pages scripted by eighteen different individuals. These writers included everyone from Stan Lee to Archie Goodwin. Well-known names in comics like Mike Grell, Alan Moore, Denny O'Neil, and Steve Englehart helped to script the project as well as two writers who are better known from other genres: Stephen King and Harlan Ellison.
Similarly, the artistic talents were divided up by pages in the comic, including such big names as John Romita, Jr., John Byrne, Berni Wrightson, Frank Miller, Brian Bolland, and Howard Chaykin. Inkers like Klaus Janson, Terry Austin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Sal Buscema, Bob Layton, and Walt Simonson added their efforts to the comic.
Despite having all of this raw talent at their disposal, Marvel's Heroes for Hope is a completely forgetable comic with little in the way of plot and characterization. The changing voices of the writers and the styles of the artists are so incredibly distracting that it is difficult to read. Ultimately, the comic is a testimony to the truth of the old adage too many cooks spoil the broth.
Warning: Spoilers to Follow
The story of Heroes for Hope revolves around an attack on X-Men by an nameless, faceless entity. The attack takes the form of hallucinations in which the individual X-Men are brought low by their own guilt and shame: Colossus is convicted of being hard and cold to the anguish of others, Kitty Pryde is brought low by her wasteful consumption, Nightcrawler is attacked as being monsterous, Wolverine for his lack of humanity, Magneto for his callousness for others in his quest for power, and Rachel Summers is convicted of her past crimes against fellow mutants. As others fall to the entity's attacks, Storm resists and rallies her teammates to go and fight their enemy.
Tracking their foe to north Africa, the mutants find that it is feeding off the misery of others and has found a feast with those starving from the famine. The mutants help the aid workers in trying to feed the people, but are overwhelmed by the task. When a child dies while in Rogue's care, she decides to take the fight to the entity. Stealing the powers of her teammates, Rogue tracks the entity, but is overwhelmed by it when it turns her own powers against her and takes control of her body. Storm battles the entity and as it begins losing the powers absorbed by the individual X-Men, they join the battle. Eventually they are able to dispel the entity and they realize that it will continue to exist as long as there is suffering in the world. Realizing that despite their amazing abilities they will never be able to defeat this foe, the X-Men are downhearted until they realize that only through the power of hope will the entity be defeated.