Oct 28, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 246: Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra #1, October 2015

When I saw solicitations for this comic, and for Howard the Human, I knew that they were two of the "Secret Wars" titles I was going to have to get. Thank goodness they were both one-shots. I find myself inclining toward the more humorous aspects of the Marvel U these days (and the DCU, with the Bizarro series), and I think this is because we seem to be entering into an unreasonably gritty, early-90s-Image-esque moment in mainstream superhero comics. Titles like this, and like Squirrel Girl, offer a nice respite from such nonsense.

I love that Hank's life includes hanging out at Little League games between a Hydra-sponsored team and a S.H.I.E.L.D.-sponsored team, and that these characters treat their jobs like jobs, rather than as the religions we've often seen henchpersons treat their organizations as. Though the comic is obviously offered as a satire, it's not unreasonable to imagine that this is exactly how one might treat such a job in the Marvel U. Granted, Hank is lucky in that he avoids being shot to death by Nick Fury twice, a peril that not many of us suburbanites can claim of our work, but life in the Marvel U is a bit stranger than life in the "real" U, so he takes it all in stride.

I am not familiar with either writer or artist on this book, but I'd be happy to follow them along through a series (heck, a mini would be cool) of Hank's life - it's like the humorous flip-side to Grant Morrison's "Best Man Fall" from The Invisibles v.1. The only troubling aspect of an extended look at Hank's world is that, inevitably, as a Hydra soldier, he's not likely to come out of the series alive. Maybe it's best to just have this little slice, and keep him alive and kicking.

Yet more "Secret Wars" tie-ins tomorrow, revisiting my personal favourite moment of the X-Men. See you then.

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