“Henchmen Inc” # 1 provides a brilliant behind the scenes look at the most abused role in comics, the henchman. And what could have easily been poorly done superhero satire actually becomes an interesting and thought provoking reimagining of a job no one would have ever wanted to do, until now.
ART BY: Jim McMunn
RELEASE: June 18, 2014
It’s a tough world out there for anyone looking to get hired. Especially ex-cons. Yet, “Henchmen Inc” provides the solution in smart and interesting terms. I’m quite surprised no one has thought about this before. The core concept sees a down and out on his luck ex-con join a group of unionized henchmen who are on the up and up. You get free medical, benefits, and you’re not breaking the law.
It’s almost too good to be true, but as of this first issue Tim Simmons creates a world where this is not only possible but also preferred. He adds in small nuances to the henchmen game and subsequently redefines the tropes of the role. You’ll marvel at just how excellent these little spins on the conventions are.
Jim McMunn’s art style is cartoonish and adds a lot of emphasis to the world. He adorns his characters with a Saturday morning cartoon vibe that only adds to the reflexive tone of the story. His work in the opening pages will captivate, his paneling is complex but never confusing. He handles himself quite well with action too, but his real strength is designing the overstated cartoon costumes.
Together these men play with a familiar concept and manage to cast new light on a familiar albeit commonly forgotten character archetype of superhero comics. In doing so they manage to breathe new life into the world of superheroes by showcasing just how egotistical the superhumans are. There are hints at something more beneath the surface too. As the characters are very aware of the world they’re working in, Simmons ends his first issue with a cautionary series of panels.
This “Henchmen Inc” doesn’t have it all figured out just yet. Something bigger and badder than ever before looms on the horizon, and I imagine these thugs for hire are about to prove themselves heroes.
In any event these first issue is a strong analysis on what makes a lackey so integral to the superhero genre. It’s incredibly enjoyable, pretty damn funny, and a little heartfelt when it needs to be. Its an impressive package that shouldn’t be missed.
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