Anna does boring things for terrible people because even criminals need office help and she needs a job. Working for a monster lurking beneath the surface of the world isn’t glamorous. But is it really worse than working for an oil conglomerate or an insurance company? In this economy?
... witty and inventive ... Walschots is penetrating ... The novel works well as a piece of office satire but loses its way in the last third as it refocuses on the undoing of Supercollider. Dragged down by long action sequences, and without a glimpse of the outer world — no panorama of civilian desperation, no Gotham on the verge — it becomes less a subversive take on power and more a straightforward comic book story ... Still, the pleasure of the novel is the slow rollout of the rules. Creating a universe involves inventing lots of little problems, and the solutions here don’t disappoint.
Hench is similar to the comic book series and recent television adaptation of The Boys, where a corporate conglomeration uses superpowered people as (among other things) a product to sell to the masses ... Great superhero comics have long explored different themes and trends that impact our society. Hench also does this quite well, and uses the existence of superpowered people to show the well-explored comic book premise that superheroes and supervillains are two sides of a coin ... like many good books, reading Hench leaves you with questions and concepts that will linger after the last page is read ... Hench is rich enough to digest on its own, an enjoyable read whether you’re already a huge fan of superhero stories or new to the genre.
In this refreshing, subversive, and darkly humorous debut novel, poet and journalist Walscholts slowly reveals the nuances of her superpower-filled world, keeping readers guessing. Hench reads like a comic without the illustrations and is packed with subplots and rapid-fire wit. With a diverse and inclusive cast of characters, Walschots’ original tale performs a brilliant and exciting variation on the superhero trope and is not to be missed.