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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Supervillain Henchmen

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

Last week’s entry on the right hand men of villains reminded me of the folks that are one step below right hand men – good ol’ henchmen! Here are the debuts of a few notable henchmen…

Riddler’s henchwomen, Query and Echo, debuted in Detective Comics Annual #8 (by Chuck Dixon and Kieron Dwyer)…

Chuck Dixon also introduced Bane’s henchmen in the pages of Vengeance of Bane #1, which also introduced Bane himself (Graham Nolan drew it)…

And here they are all together in action for the first time…

Magneto’s Acolytes showed up in X-Men #1…

Here they are in action for the first time later in the issue…


Wow, these are some obscure ones! I’ve vaguely heard of Query and Echo, but this is my first encounter with these other goons. Did they stick around at all?

The Acolytes were a major part of the X-Books throughout the 1990s, but Bane’s guys only lasted through the Knightfall storyline.

They were indeed major back in the day. They could have had class. They could have been contenders .. oh, who the hell am I kidding?

Did that big guy just call Rogue “Gooder”? What does that even mean?

Well, he’s a “badder”, so…

No. No, I do not know what the hell that means.

How the hell did that comic sell a billion damn copies or whatever?

@ Travis Pelkie
“How the hell did that comic sell a billion damn copies or whatever?”
Hype is a hell of a thing.

Did that big guy just call Rogue “Gooder”? What does that even mean?

I’m a huge Claremont fan, but around the time of X-Men in Australia with Silvestri his scripting just went off the rails and became totally overpowered by his writing tics. One of those tics was bad guys calling the heroes weird slang words or pet names during fights. At least he didn’t call her “skunk witch” or something (Claremont really liked witch, e.g. “Weather Witch” “mind witch” etc

Funny, I thought buttler was kidding at first.

About their obscurity? Nope, as far as I can tell this lot makes the Enforcers look like superstars. And rightly so–the Enforcers are awesome.

But then, I was really turned off by a lot of ’90s comics and wasn’t reading these titles at the time.

Nah, I think Stealthwise meant the “Gooder” comment. I too was wondering what you were talking about, as I had just skimmed the pages above, and then went back to see what you meant.

And me likee Query and Echo for their outfits. Cuz I’m a bad person.

Wait, Echo? Query I get, but why Echo? Damn Riddler.

You know, I was wondering the same thing about Echo, but I didn’t want to hog all the curmudgeonly nitpicking for myself.

The ‘tic’ that most annoyed me was his conviction that being mind-controlled and turned evil (and boy did Claremont love mind-control) makes you want to dress like you’re auditioning for a job in a leather bar. It made me long to see someone turned evil then start dressing like a repressed school-marm (“Sex is disgusting! All those warm, happy, life-affirming feelings, it makes me want to vomit!”).

I may be completely wrong Fraser, but does that happen in Alpha Flight with Northstar’s sister?

@Travis Pelkie @buttler I think it may have to do with her tendency to finish Query’s sentences, though I always thought it was odd. It always seemed perfect that Eddie would have henchwomen though.

Bother, Stuaker, my Alpha Flight reading’s been too sketchy to be sure (so if it did, I missed it).

I may be completely wrong Fraser, but does that happen in Alpha Flight with Northstar’s sister?

Yeah, it does, and an even more obvious example of this than Aurora is when Sue Storm goes evil during John Byrne’s FF run… So you could say John Byrne was even more fond of the trope than Claremont. What’s even sadder is that superhero comics are still using it in the 00s; Mary Marvel goes through a similar metamorphosis during the events of Countdown and Final Crisis. You’d think that comic book writers like Paul Dini and Grant Morrison would think it’s a ridiculous and obsolete idea to equate BDSM gear and assertive female sexuality with being evil, but no…

Riddler 2nd page, 3rd panel: is that an Easter Egg/in-joke?
Caption: “I resigned myself to a solo career.” Above is a “King Kirby” sign.
A comment on Jack leaving Marvel/DC/Marvel again?

Oh, that Black Mary or whatever she was called just made me cringe. So did the people trying to excuse it (“It’s not sexism, it’s a meta-commentary on sexist stereotypes.”).

That Dwyer art is amazing! Especially for the period. It would fit right in with the Breitweiser, Samnee, Martine, Aja school of heavy brush cartooning going on right now.

Echo might have first appeared in that Detective Comics Annual, but The Riddler shows a photo of two henchwomen in the Neil Gaiman classic “When is a Door Not a Door?” (published in the 1989 Secret Origins Special) and calls them “Query and Probe”. I found the page here:

Ahhhh, thanks, Chris. That’s what I was thinking of when I thought I’d heard of them.

Man, that Detective Comics annual was a good one. I really miss having Chuck Dixon working on a Batman book.
I always found it odd that Bird, Trogg, and Zombie never resurfaced after “Knightfall.” sure, they had pretty much served their purposes, but at the very least, it seems like one or more of them might have been dredged up and used as cannon fodder in one of the later stories like “Face the Face” or something(the way they did away with my beloved KGBeast *sniff*).
I remember reading “X-Men” #1 and trying really hard to give a damn what was happening. I had like a dozen copies of it because I was always buying those multi-packs of comics that Walmart had in the early ’90s for a few dollars, and almost all of them contained a copy of “X-Men” #1. That comic was like a goddamn Hydra; i kept giving copies away, but more kept finding their way into the house!

Aww, no love for Rhino. Not the spider-man villain, but the Ventriloquists henchman. Because a nerdy guy and a puppet aren’t enough to be a phsical threat.

@Tuomas – I think Stuaker was using Aurora from Alpha Flight as an answer to Fraser’s request for a heroine who turns evil and becomes sexually repressed instead of … let’s say sexually demonstrative. If memory serves, Aurora had a comic-book-style split personality; her superheroine personality was fun-loving and flirtatious, and her other personaliy was prudish and generally unhelpful, but I don’t think it was actually villainous or representative of her “dark side,” I think it was just supposed to be a representation of her hyper-religious upbringing (I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Nightcrawler is the only superhero in the history of comics whose religion is mentioned as more than a minor background detail who isn’t seriously messed up because of it, barring characters who get their powers from their religion or who belong to fictional religions).

So Sue/Malice wouldn’t be the same thing, because she did dress in a bondagey outfit when she went evil.

Speaking of evil heroines named Malice, I don’t think Polaris dressed any more fetishy when she was possessed by Malice (not evil Sue, a different entity of the same name and concept) but that wasn’t really a “turned evil” situation, that was a different person in charge of her body.

ZZZ, you’re right about Aurora–she was a prude out of costume, but not evil.
Firebird/La Espirita would be another whose religious beliefs are presented as a positive thing, though she’s a fairly minor character.

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