I’ve always wondered why hench-people are so willing to lay down their lives for clearly evil and unbalanced masterminds, but I think I just figured it out.
Henchmen and henchwomen are recruited from the homeless population. People who have reached the bottom rung of society, slipped from it, and dropped into the abyss. Villains trawl for the lost souls and the give them food, a home, companionship with other henchmen. A purpose. They’re trusted with responsibility.
So why do they line up to die in fights against “good guys?”
Gratitude. Henchmen do what they do out of gratitude.
Put yourselves in their position. Sure, the boss is insane. But you know insanity. You’ve wrestled with it yourself, maybe, or you certainly know people on the streets that struggle with it. And “evil?” What’s evil anyway? Oh, the boss wants to change the world, and how it would change might be unclear, but from your perspective, he or she has made your life 1000% better.
Villains do more for the homeless than any heroes. Supervillains build industry and provide jobs to those who most desperately need them. How many jobs does your average superhero create? Hell, they probably puts police out of work if they’re ‘good’ at their jobs. Some henchfolk might even be former cops who lost everything after yet another round of cuts, because hey, we have all these volunteer heroes, why do we need another dozen police officers?
Giving someone who has nothing even the smallest something is the easiest way directly to the core of them.
I am rethinking every superhero comic I’ve ever read in this context now.