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.
We’re introduced to two friends and henchmen while on the job: Rafael and Kyle. They are guarding the transport of weapons for a supervillain named Maverick, but you’d think they were standing at a water cooler in a corporate office or just security guards at a 7-11. They trash talk their superior, they talk about their ex-girlfriends, they talk about wanting more out of life. Yes, these characters are henchmen, but first they are well-rounded, fully developed characters. The exchange in the coffee shop is wonderful and human, and, because of that, it’s effortlessly funny. The comedy comes from how the characters interact with the world: their differences, their similarities, and their passions. It’s not long before Rafael gets the opportunity to interview to become a Squad Leader and set his life back on the right track – to make something of himself.
Henchman #1 is full of heart. It’s funny, it’s genuine, and you are presented with Latinx characters that already feel like they are going to have a rich story arc. The interplay between characters isn’t there just to be clever or to remind you that you’re reading a comic book in a comic book world. While there are those moments of Kevin Smith tomfoolery, the dialogue is there to shape who the characters are and are to each other. Show, don’t tell; they get it, and if you get a chance to pick up issue one of Rafael Garcia: Henchman, you should!
Creative Team: Peter Murrieta and D.E. Schrader (script), Peter Murrieta (plot), Ben Herrera (art), Emmanuel Torres (colors), Clay Adams (letters)
Publisher: Starburns Industries
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