Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra #1 (Marvel)

Hank Johnson - Agent of Hydra 001-000
CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 5/5 – A Laugh Out Loud Comic.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

So what do you do when you’re married with kids and your job is working for Hydra…well if you’re Hank Johnson you just try to do your best. Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra is a one-shot that puts humor first by showing the everyday “slice of life” about a guy who’s part of one of the most evil organizations in the world. Written by David Mandel, a producer and director for Curb your Enthusiasm and a writer for Seinfeld, Hank Johnson made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions which is rare for most comics. Before reading this it would be hard for me to believe that this issue would be one of my favorite Secret Wars titles, but it is!

The issue opens with Nick Fury sneaking into a Hydra Base that Hank and his partner are guarding. As Nick Fury attempts to sneak past the guards he kicks Hank in the head and shoots his partner, killing him. We then flash forward to the next day and see Hank with an ice pack on his face sitting at the kitchen table while his three kids are fighting, and his wife is yelling for him to make their lunches for school. It’s a great moment that, like Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, shows the mundane of everyday life and finds the humor in it. Throughout the issue we see Hank’s attempt to balance his hectic world that includes school meetings, Hydra meetings with the obligatory “Hail Hydra” salutations, and a Halloween outing that provided by far the funniest moment in the issue. It’s quick paced with jokes and humor that come just as fast.

Artist Michael Walsh does a great job with the art by grounding everything with realism. Hank isn’t muscular, nor are most of the characters in the book. They look real, with a bit of cartoon style thrown in. The scenes with Hydra are drawn with the same realism as the scenes at home and it all looks perfect together. Whether or not you’re following Secret Wars, you need to read this book. It’s accessible to any Marvel reader with limited knowledge of Marvel History. My only regret with this issue is that it’s a one-shot and it may be a while, if ever, before we see Hank again. That means I’ll just have to read this issue all over again!

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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