I welcome Peter Murrieta and D.E. Schrader’s Rafael Garcia: Henchman with open arms. They approach a burgeoning superhero subgenre without falling into the traps that usually come with the territory. They expertly avoid an extreme level of jokey absurdness, overt self-awareness, or lazy spoofing that would undermine their characters. Here, the characters are well thought out and exist on their own terms first, which makes the experience incredibly refreshing, surprisingly relatable, and really funny.
Batman and The Maxx. Gritty, heroic, smart. Well, Batman is smart. The new Dynamic Duo they are not, but more of a buddy cop duo who are about two days away from retirement. Partners thrust together in a situation neither expected nor consensual. When you take on the Outback, it's best to do it together and there's no one much more experienced in the Outback than The Maxx. Two heroes forced into a situation that puts their physical and mental acumen to the test. Not just the type of brain power gained by years of training and deduction, but also the type of brain power one earns on the streets. That's easy enough to say for the Batman, but The Maxx goes about it in a whole different way. Imagine a funhouse mirror. You look into one, and what do you see? A warped, distorted vision staring back at you with your own eyes. Such can be said for these two heroes, if that's what you call them. Two sides of the same coin, one created on the streets of Gotham, the other who still lives there. Batman can only save what he knows; The Maxx can only save what he perceives. It'll take both to save the Outback and protect Julie and the Jungle Queen from unseen foes.
It's a new issue and a new zone as we get to see what the second of the thirteen distinct zones of the new United States of America is really like. Gone are the desert nightmares of Destiny, and in is the technological perfection that is Unity. Our intrepid group has escaped the clutches of the Destiny Man and made their way into the next zone, one that eschews the plains for the beloved landscapes of the Northwest, and with it the return of a familiar face.
It's official: I am addicted to this story. I just added it to my pull list, because they are doing everything right. First, I want to say if you haven't read issue #1 of Seven Secrets, then don’t read the rest of this article, but know that if you like secret organizations, mystery, and bad-ass action, you should go and buy a copy now. If you did happen to pick up a copy of the first issue, please continue on to the next paragraph; there will be no spoilers for you!
Quick recap: Mal had imprisoned the Chang-Benitez Gang to protect them from the overzealous and vastly overpowered Blue Sun militia. That’s until the Bandit King broke them out, seemingly playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the good sheriff, and taking the heat for the various capers of the Chang-Benitez gang. Except, plot twist, the Bandit King is none other than Mal!