While Superheroes and Supervillains are often the main focus of our favourite comic books, it’s the henchmen and underlings that never seem to get as much focus they should. Fortunately, all that is different in Greg Smith, Sal Donaire and team’s webcomic the Henchman. But as we check out volume one, can the Henchman show its superpowers?
Publisher: Greg Smith Comics
Writer: Greg Smith
Artist: Sal Donaire (Art), Maksim ‘Keeper’ Strelkov (Colours), Olga Timofeeva (Letters)
Price:$9.99 from DriveThru Comics
The Henchman tells the story of Pike, a lowly henchman working for the mad genius supervillain Dr. Ballistic. When a battle with the Pantheon of Good, Justice-Man results in the death of most of the henchmen and the capture of Ballistic, Pike makes his escape and attempts to gain his pay from his boss’ crooked second in command, Number One. However, upon finding himself a marked man by those he previously worked for, Pike joins forces with fellow henchman Asher, would-be hacker Milton and freelancer Monica to pull off one big score with the help of weapons liberated from Dr. Ballistics’ storage. But with heroes and villains alike gunning for them, these four will find that working for yourself may not be as easy as working for a supervillain.
Within the pages of this first volume, Greg Smith has written a fun and engaging comic, one which almost feels like it is bordering satire of the Superhero genre. That said, Smith avoids crossing that line, playing the story straight and it works incredibly well, although it does make me wonder if making it almost Deadpool-esque in its commentary might have been a stronger route. Nonetheless, the Henchman and its world plays to its strengths, with entertaining characters who, despite being a little cliched (the tough henchman, the geeky hacker, the mysterious wildcard), still come across as solid and likeable leads who compliment each other well. If there is one real concern it is the momentary pushes by the plot towards something a little darker (such as an early sequence involving Justice-Man and Dr. Ballistic). It’s these moments which make the series slightly jarring given the title’s overall light, action-orientated theme but is fortunately not enough to ruin the overall enjoyment.
As for the artwork, Sal Donaire provides this comic series with a nice style which is soft and easy on the eye, giving it an almost dreamlike quality with the help of Maksim Strelkov’s colours and reminding me of the artwork from Jay Martin’s ALV series (although not as provocative). It real feels like Donaire and Streklov were given a lot of freedom in their rendering of the Henchman’s world as they both seem to let loose through this volume, going big and producing some really excellent set pieces which wouldn’t look out of place in a Michael Bay movie.
The Henchman is a fun comic which, while maybe not seeming too intellectual, is in no way boring either. Smith, Donaire, Strelkov and the team have created an easy-going, uncomplicated and above all entertaining read which is lovely to look at from one page to the next. If you were to find yourself needing to read a comic that is laid back and requiring little thought, just to sit back and enjoy, then you wouldn’t go wrong with this one.