Who is Hank Johnson? Just a regular guy with a family and three kids who goes to work every day… as a henchman for Hydra. All those mask wearing goons in green that get their asses kicked in every comic book, they all go home to their wife and kids like the rest of us.
Our story opens up with Nick Fury infiltrating a Hydra base where Hank Johnson works. During his visit, Fury kicks Hank in the face before killing his coworker and moving on to carry out his mission. The following morning at the Johnson residence, Hank is icing his face as the daily family chaos around him begins, showing no mercy for the night he had at work. His wife is not impressed with his story about Captain America attacking Hydra and getting knocked out by Nick Fury, and instead hands him his daddy duties for the day.
Hank Johnson Agent of Hydra #1 is a hilarious look into the lives of the faceless henchmen that populate the Marvel universe after they clock out and go home at night. Hank himself is reminiscent of the lovable nerdy henchman duo from The Venture Bros. but with a Marvel supporting cast and setting. There are a ton of Hydra “celebrity” cameos as readers follow as Hank advances through the ranks of Hydra so he can afford a nanny. Each cameo is absolutely hysterical and pokes fun at plenty of classic villains and their roles within the organization.
Writer David Mandel has said of Agent of Hydra, “it was like writing a pilot for a TV show that never was.” His TV background in comedy proves to be very useful as this book has a quick pace and is loaded with laughs. It also lends a hand in making Hank Johnson come across extremely relatable and immediately lovable. There isn’t a single negative thing to say about the story, characters, jokes, or conclusion.
This comic is a huge step in the right direction for Marvel and it shows potential for more comedy series like this one. Hank Johnson Agent of Hydra should be used as their template. Other than Deadpool, Marvel isn’t really known for introducing many comics centered on comedy and obscurity, but hopefully this will inspire them to do more.
Michael Walsh’s artwork is the perfect companion to Mandel’s story; it’s light and fluffy and goes down easy. Readers won’t need to spend too much time analyzing each and every panel, although it’s definitely worth taking your time to fully absorb all of its comedic gold. Matthew Wilson does a fine job coloring this cartoon-ish superhero sitcom.
Without spoiling anything, there isn’t much else to say other than this book is hysterical, well written, and an all-around hit. Hank Johnson has the potential to become a Marvel fan favorite if they decide to go further with this series. Hank Johnson Agent of Hydra is Marvel tapping into a whole new genre of profitable books and characters by making fun of themselves and super heroes in general. If Hank Johnson Agent Of Hydra was to become an ongoing series, it would easily become one of my personal favorites.