If you read any reviews for Hench, you’ll quickly see the Amazon Prime series ‘The Boys’ called up, and it’s an apt comparison. Both The Boys and Hench share an attitude towards superheros that is distinctly… anti-Marvel. Hench takes place in a world that idolises superheros and leaves little room for critique of their methods. Property damage, destruction, injured innocent bystanders… These realities of living alongside a superpowered cohort are swept under the proverbial rug so that heros are infallible and worshipped by all.
Until Anna comes along, that is.
Anna is a temporary Hench. She temps for whichever super villain is in need of some extra data-entry or menial filing job. She’s not on the front line and is certainly not the mastermind behind their criminal acts. She’s just chasing a reliable paycheque. Her friends are in the same line of work, and support each other with wry-verging-on-black humour to get through their day jobs.
All is seemingly going well, until the day Anna finds herself in Supercolliders’ path.
Supercollider is the Superman stand-in. Invulnerable, strong, fast. He’s in the big leagues and admired by all. With a casual swipe, Anna is permanently and painfully injured and, during her recovery, begins creating spreadsheets of a new kind. She starts chronicling the real cost of Superheros (in dollar value and human-life value). And her findings are startling.
What begins as a way to distract her from the pain of her physical recovery becomes a plight; a calling. She is highly motivated to bring truth to power, and her truth attracts the attention and admiration of the ultimate villain: Leviathan.
Hench was a fantastic and very easy read. My only wish is that the central female friendship that sustains the beginning of the novel had a more satisfying arc; however I expect a sequel may come in future. And you can bet I’ll be pre-ordering that when the time comes!