I’m laughing already. Just thinking about this issue cracks me up. It’s a strong competitor for my favorite issue, but I’m still just barely giving it to the second issue because… I mean just read the issue already, I can’t gush about it every time I’m reviewing this series. At any rate, this issue has a lot of emotion attached to the humor which is one of the many reasons it’s a strong issue and series. Mary is still working with the Butterfly gang… which is still funny to me and even funnier by the end of this issue. They’re planning on stealing a chemical and Mary blabs that her roommate works at the place they’re stealing from. Against her better judgement… which I’m not sure Mary has fully developed yet, she takes her roommates key card. Once inside they run into Mr. Great Guy… who is destroyed by the most recent loss in his life. Mary’s friends, the two ladies she helped in the kitchen of… issue two, all comes back to issue two, also show up. This scene is both hilarious and sad. Just don’t take it at face value because you can see Mary’s heart growing weak for the line of work she’s in.
After that she gets busted by her roommate and the faces that Kristen Gudsnuk illustrates are just hilarious and sad. “Cry face” has never been captured more accurately than in this comic. The rest of the issue is a surprise and I mean that. I didn’t see it coming and it was actually kind of shocking. I didn’t see the series going in that direction with Mary’s story and I welcome what it brings to the series.
As I’ve said before it’s the consistency of Mary’s character that makes her a wonderful character. When she’s crying and hardly saying anything in response to her roommate you don’t need her to, because by now you know her character. You know what she’s saying without saying it and if that isn’t just the biggest success of the writing and art then I don’t know what is. In hindsight I wish I talked about the rest of the issue because it again builds Mary as a character. I still won’t because dammit you need some reason to read this comic, but I will say that it reveals an element of her past. You will kind of understand why she’s henching.
Of course the art remains fantastic. Mr. Great Guy’s appearance and actions were killer. That made me laugh so damn hard the first time I read it. I still chuckle thinking about one panel in particular that’s a visual gag. The facial expressions in this issue definitely stand out from the rest of the series and for the right reasons. I mentioned the “cry face”, but there’s also a scene of an extreme close up on a smile that looks completely forced. It’s conveys that perfectly with the art by breaking from Gudnsuk’s normal style. It needs that extra detail and realism suddenly to visually show a difference and it’s still a funny visual gag at the same time.
I know that I continue to gush about this series as I catch up on reviews for it. Here’s the thing though… I don’t catch up on reviews. If I miss a review, I rarely and I mean rarely go back and do a review. I have only done that with Henchgirl and two Heavy Metal titles that I felt deserved the coverage. I’m reviewing this book because I want to talk about it, not out of some obligation to promote it or because I’m an annoying fan of the series. My truest feelings about this series is that if you’re going to read superhero comics, you should be reading Henchgirl. If not, then you shouldn’t be reading the genre if you’re not going to first start with the best it has to offer.
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Henchgirl #4 Creator: Kristen Gudsnuk Publisher: Scout Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print