Review: Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1

Hank Johnson Agent of HydraHave you ever wondered what Hydra agents do during their downtime? No? Well then,you’re probably better off reading something else. For everyone else with a burning (or even somewhat warm) desire to see a Hydra agent in his day to day existence, you’ll get to follow Hydra agent Hank Johnson as he struggles with all the usual day to day chores and activities that many of us undertake in our own lives, all while working for a terrorist organization that constantly run the risk of being attacked by the Avengers.

Who is Hank Johnson? That’s the question that nobody has ever asked, simply because nobody really cares.

Until now.

Lets get this out of the way before you go any further; Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 is fantastic. It’s the comic book you never knew you wanted to read, giving you a brilliant look at the life of a regular guy who just happens to be working as a henchman for Hydra. The opening pages set the tone brilliantly for this comic, giving you a perfect glimpse at just who Hank Johnson is, and if he reminds you of a certain yellow skinned safety inspector, then you wouldn’t be alone. This is a light hearted comic that focuses on the life of a man who is more likely to get a fist in the face (hopefully not a clawed fist, but those are the risks of working for Hydra) than a glowing performance review.

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 came out of nowhere on the weekend to become my most anticipated comic released this week and it didn’t disappoint me in the slightest; which I’m genuinely surprised at because I was really looking forward to this comic, and usually when I’m looking forward to an unknown series then it inevitably will either fail to live up to my expectations, disappoint me, or on some rare occasions will meet and exceed them. This comic is one of those issues that just ticked all the right boxes for me. David Mandel has written a story in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm that is told in short scenes, much like a television show, before coming together for a climax that seems to very perfect for this comic.

Michael Walsh gives us some simple, yet oh so effective layouts with his art. Although they’re not flashy, they suit the pace and style of the story very well. By not overwhelming the reader’s eye as it flows across the page, Michael Walsh has allowed both the dialogue to shine, but also allows you to take in his uncanny ability to let us know exactly what Hank is thinking and feeling because of how Walsh has captured his facial expressions.

The only down side to Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 is that it’s a one shot comic, and while Hank Johnson is as fully realized and likeable a character as you’re likely to get, I’d have love to see how the creative team would flesh out some of the supporting characters were this to become an ongoing series. How likely is that? Only time will tell, but I really hope we see more of Hank Johnson once Secret Wars has concluded.

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 is a breath of fresh air amidst some the more gloomier comics that are spinning out of the main arc right now, and while there’s barely any reference to Secret Wars throughout the comic, it really will have you looking at faceless henchmen in a whole new light.

And that light is awesome.

Story: David Mandel Artist: Michael Walsh Color Artist Matthew Wilson
Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Also posted on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan