Mary Posa is the average millennial, she works at a job that she dislikes and barely makes enough to meet her rent payments. Her attempts to find another job constantly fail, forcing her to remain at the job that she is in: a henchgirl for the villainous Butterfly Gang. Recently, I came across an article that discussed that the average person needs a minimum wage of $20 an hour to live comfortably in New York, so I am sure that many readers, including myself, can understand Mary’s decision to turn to a life of crime.
Yet Mary is not a bad person. Just like I am not a bad person for sympathizing. Just like you are not a bad person for googling how to become a henchgirl after finding out the hourly wage needed to survive in your city. She has morals:
I mean, would a bad person return your credit cards and license after stealing your wallet? Seems like something only a considerate person would do to me. Mary is aware of the real villains in the world: the DMV. She even tries to make an honest living but she is met with the ever relatable rejection:
When the gang of baddies want to steal from an orphanage, Mary’s moral compass directs her to work with Fred, an aspiring superhero who goes by the name The Mannequin, to prevent the heist. The gang discovers that Fred leaked their plans to the authorities, so he crashes with Mary and her two room mates to avoid an attack. Why would a superhero hide? Well, Fred’s powers allow him to literally turn into a mannequin which is completely useless, especially since the Black Beatles trend is over. #RIPMannequinChallenge. During this time, Fred takes them to an autograph signing of two famous superheroes who have recently published a book. In a shocking and twisting turn of events, Mary casually calls them mom and dad – see, could someone who is truly evil be the child of not one, but two superheroes?
Shortly after, the Butterfly Gang discovers that Mary betrayed them. For her punishment, they inject Mary with evil serum so that she can become the true henchgirl that she has the potential of becoming. While Mary goes on an evil binge, she overhears another villain plotting to kidnap her sister. In an attempt to save her family, Mary kills Gunpowder, which is coincidentally filmed, causing her to run from the cops, and Fred teams up with Celestial Angel Amelia, a clear recreation of Sailor Moon combined with Cardcaptor Sakura:
This newfound partnership pushes Mary over the edge as she begins to devise plans to overthrow Amelia. After holding Amelia hostage, Mary steals her time traveling device to attempt to rectify her mistakes. As always with time travel, this backfires immensely. The volume ends in the nearby future with Amelia and Mary trying to warn their past selves.
It seems abrupt right? The entire novel flowed so smoothly up until the very end. I am not sure if this is because this only contained the first few volumes and is simply setting up the rest of the story arc, or if this is going to be one of those series that constantly jumps to different time periods (please, please don’t be this). I thoroughly enjoyed Henchgirl because the drawing style was very alluring with vibrant colors, and it was filled with humor, that was often very meta, on every panel. Even though the premise seemed a bit cliche, a villain who is not really a bad person, Gudsnuk has developed Mary in a very original way. The characters are not caricatures as so often is the case and Mary is a female lead who is not co-dependent on the one male character. As I began this review, Mary is the average millennial: someone who would rob a bank and toss aside all morals if pizza was used as an incentive.