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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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cyborg #2 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of the series was a fantastic start, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second. Writer David Walker seems to have addresses a lot of past issues with the character in the first issue, while also setting him on an interesting course too. This is a comic I keep checking the release schedule to see if it’s out, that’s how much I want to read it.

Prez #3 (DC Comics) – The first two issues have had me laughing, and they’re turning out to be really prescient when it comes to the future of politics and elections. Not sure if I should keep laughing or be really scared.

Princeless: Be Yourself #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Writer Jeremy Whitley nails it issue after issue, in this series which is so far ahead the rest of the comic industry as far as characters and themes. Girl power!

Snowden (Seven Stories Press) – Ted Rall chronicles the history of Edward Snowden and the NSA leak.

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new girl power comic that feels like a mix of Sailor Moon, Jem, and a lot of other series that are just awesome. This was an indie comic, and got picked up by Dark Horse, so it’s fun to see it also go from a small press comic to a full blown one. The first issue is all set-up and pretty entertaining.

 

Alex

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 (Marvel) – The preview pages j have seen of this comic looks absolutely fantastic. The idea of the behind the scenes look at the regular lives of some of henchmen in the worlds premier villainous organisation is really intriguing, and I’m sure there’ll be some interesting. Guest stars.

Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel) – I hadn’t realized just how much I missed reading about Wolverine until this series came out. Whilst I’m glad he hasn’t been resurrected for no reason, it’s nice to get some more time with one of the more interesting incarnations of Wolverine, too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol 2 #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The sequel series opened on a high note, and it looks like it will maintain the same tempo.

Batgirl #43 (DC Comics) – A new story arc for this standout series. Not much seems capable of stopping the momentum of this series.

He-Man: Eternity War #9 (DC Comics) – Every issue leads to a bigger turn of the plot. No idea what is coming this time, but it will be big again.

Mulan Revelations #3 (Dark Horse) – The first two issues have been heavy on style and a bit lighter on substance, but the concept is so cool that it deserves a chance to get settled.

Star Wars: Lando #3 (Marvel) – This series has been non-stop fun, proving that Lando should never have been a secondary character.

 

Elana

Top Pick: NEXT Wave: Collected Edition (Marvel) – The hilarious, highly political superhero team satire series featuring Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon or Capt Marvel) is out in a nice complete collection. The biting commentary and creativity of this series is renowned. From dream team Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – This series is already a standout for having unusually astute analysis of blackness and also about disability. It develops Victor Stone aka Cyborg as a fascinating hero in his own right and as far as I can see it even resolved some of the previously problematic aspects of the character: (read about those problems in Robert Jones Jr’s essential essay “Humanity Not a Included“). I’m ecstatic to have an African-American writer on this title. David Walker’s story is potent scifi that works on metaphorical level and well as on a narrative level. He references Invisible Man– which has needed to happen in a Cyborg story for decades. It’s a can’t-miss series.

Grayson #11 (DC Comics) – In this issue Grayson fights himself. Or someone pretending to be him. I love Huntress in this series acting as his spy master. I totally respect this comic’s dedication to a female and queer male readership that too many series ignore.

Lumberjanes #17 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New story arc featuring our favorite feminist summer camp adventurers. Please get your kids reading this book. It’s groundbreaking and fun and fabulous. And read it yourself for swells of nostalgia for a relatable yet fantastical children’s story that I wish I’d had when I was little.

Almost American