Review: Henchmen, Inc. #1 by Tim Simmons & Jim McMunn

Henchmen, Inc. #1

Written by: Tim Simmons
Art by: Jim McMunn
Colored by: Jim McMunn and Brant Fowler
Lettered by: Brant Fowler
Published by: Monkeybrain
Cover Price: $0.99

Note: This is a review of the digital version which can be found on Comixology.

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

I give Monkeybrain Comics a lot of credit for having a strong vision and sticking to it. Monkeybrain launched basically two years ago this week, with the goal of providing digital comics from a wide variety of genres.

While I would love to see more consistency in terms of releases (what ever happened to October Girl???), just about every series I’ve tried from Monkeybrain has been enjoyable. And most of the books are 99 cents or $1.99, so that makes them a great value.

Summary (contains spoilers): Henchmen, Inc. starts with a common street thug named Michael Finch  doing a break in. As he does so, the narration talks about Finch wanting to be a superhero as a kid, but growing up in a neighborhood where you went into your father’s line of work. His father was a thug, and told him:

Finch is tossed in jail by a hero called The Night. Seven months later, Finch gets out and finds out his girlfriend is pregnant and wants nothing to do with him because he’s a criminal. Finch considers going straight to try and win her back, but quickly finds out that no one wants to hire an ex-con.

His friend, Dex, hooks him up with a firm called Henchmen, Inc. Henchmen, Inc. trains and outfits thugs to hire to various super villains. They take pride in being henchmen…

His first gig is to help a villain named The Chain steal a gem. A hero shows up to stop them. The Chain is arrested, but Finch manages to escape with the gem. Henchmen, Inc considers this a success, and Finch gets a hefty bonus. He uses the bonus to set up a nursery for his ex-girlfriend and to upgrade his apartment.

Meanwhile, overseas a mysterious villain is looking to take advantage of the disappearance of a hero named Millennium….but he’s having trouble getting visas for his thugs. But, he is not concerned…you can hire henchmen anywhere…

Review: My favorite part of this comic was how well-thought out the logistics were. Henchmen, Inc. shows exactly how the super-villain can still make a great living even if they do end up getting arrested.  Goons are took to take a dive like World Cup soccer players in order to avoid getting pummeled by heroes.

I also thought it was pretty brilliant that the Doctor Doom homage at the end of the book was having trouble getting his acolytes visas. This attention to detail helped Henchmen, Inc. really ring true.

Finch seems like he has potential to be a great character. I loved his opening narration, especially. But no one else in this book really stood out for me. Too many characters in this story just seemed to be serving the plot and didn’t have a lot of memorable qualities to them.  I love when side characters in a comic, movie, book, etc seem to have their own lives, and we are only catching glimpses into that life…and that never really happened here.

This was especially true of the homage characters. The heroes and villains really weren’t given all that much personalities.  Again, they were just there to serve the plot.

I will also say that I am a little tired of seeing homage Batmen and Supermen in these types of books. I know it helps create a common language the reader can quickly understand, but it just feels lazy. At least Astro City seems to try and give Confessor and Samaritan some new twists to them (and Astro City was basically the first of these types of series, so it didn’t feel tired then). But The Night and Millennium could have just been trees or buildings, and it wouldn’t have had that much of an impact on the story.

The art on Henchmen, Inc. was serviceable, but nothing all that exciting.  That said, I did like the ridiculous henchmen costume The Chain made his men wear.

All in all, I think this book was above average, but could have been much better. I think it suffers a little because there were moments in this book where I was reminded of the far better MPH.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book, and I would definitely come back at a buck an issue. It is in no way a bad comic, just not quite as great as it could be.

Final Score: 7.5: A decent first issue with some great ideas, but some of the execution did feel a little flat.

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