on 7 April 2011
After reading the third volume of the Boys I thought that they couldn't make we wish the next volume was out even more, but then I read Innocents.
This volume shows the fallout of Butcher finding out that Hughie is dating Starlight, and the fallout is brilliant. MM also starts looking into matters as he starts to distrust Butcher, saving Hughie's life in the process, but the best writing in this vol is when Hughie is shown how Starlight got her job in the Seven. Furthermore The Homelander begins his move for power, gathering the other Supes together leaving a cliffhanger that had me kicking myself that I had brought this vol the moment it came out.
Garth Ennis has done amazing work with this series, this is the first piece of work I have read of his, and I must admit that it has hooked me to his work, but I do fear that the rest of his work won't be as good as this. The boys have not disappointed me so far, and though the next vol is a bit soft it is a set that had to be made as it sets up what we have been waiting to find out. I can't really find anything that annoyed me about this vol, the OTT Garth Ennis usually sticks in these books isn't too much, he makes characters that you love to hate, and others that you hope dies painfully - and knowing Garth Ennis they will - the confrontation between Hughie and Starlight is great, and I think every fan will agree with me and find they feel sorry for both of them as they are good people brought to the lowest mankind can sink. Hats off to Garth Ennis for an amazing piece of writing that reaches the heights of Alan Moore and Frank Millar.
on 15 October 2013
As anyone who has read Watchmen can tell you, just because you're a superhero it doesn't mean that you can't be a total arse and a serious danger to humanity. Garth Ennis' solution to this issue is The Boys, a covert CIA black ops team of very dangerous people - Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie [yes, the Simon Pegg thing is intentional], Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female - tasked with keeping the masked deviants under control. The controversial and hugely popular series, written entirely by Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson, debuted in 2006 and will hit the fiftieth issue mark in January 2011. The Boys Vol.7: The Innocents collects issues 39 to 47 of the series.
The collection begins with "What I Know", a single-issue story in which Billy Butcher discovers Wee Hughie's relationship with Starlight [of The Seven fame]. Butcher is, rightly, unwilling to believe that Hughie is a double-agent in league with The Seven and so, after consulting with The Legend, sends him undercover to observe a joke of a superhero team called Super Duper. Meanwhile, back at Vought American headquarters, Jess Bradley is made privy to information about a shocking incident from The Homelander's past.
"The Innocents" is a multi-issue story-arch originally contained in issues 40 to 43. Wee Hughie is on assignment surveilling Super Duper, a team of earnest and incredibly naïve teenagers from the distant future. Now Super Duper may seem the typical vanilla 1950s style superheroes but, since this is being written by Garth Ennis, the real situation is far more twisted than that and, aside from their dodgy super-names (Auntie Sis, Bobby Badoing, Ladyfold, Stool Shadow, Klanker, The Black Hole, and Kid Camo), there is something bizarrely screwed-up and unfortunate about each of them. However, they are truly do-gooders with no concept of what the rest of the superheroes get up to and so, against his better judgement, Wee Hughie feels protective towards them. Just as well really, as Malchemical has just been drafted in by Vought American to be their new team leader.
Vol. 7 finishes with the multi-issue story "Believe", originally found in issues 44 to 47. Against the backdrop of some kind of religious, fundamentalist festival involving superheroes proclaiming their faith and sponsored [of course] by Vought American, Wee Hughie and Starlight reconnect and learn some of the truth about each other. Predictably, it doesn't go well. Towards the end of the story, it seems that The Homelander may finally be about to initiative some variety of spectacular villainy rather than just pout and ponder on previous evil deeds.
The Boys is certainly a series that pulls no punches. The sex and violence in The Innocents is just as extreme and occasionally gratuitous [more so even than in Ennis' Preacher series) as long-time followers of the series will expect. For this reason, The Boys isn't going to be a series that appeals to everyone [fans of the traditional superhero stories would certainly be advised to read an issue or two of the comic before investing in the paperback collections] since some elements of the various storylines are at best extremely cringe worthy and, at worst, decidedly distressing.
However, alongside the "adult" issues mentioned, Garth Ennis is a highly innovative and imaginative writer and, after a couple of rather slow volumes, events at the end of The Innocents seem to imply that something big is about to be afoot in The Boys universe and that Volume 8 should be unmissable. While the action might occasionally be a little slow, Ennis has certainly used the time to deliver excellent characterisations - both of The Boys themselves and of the various Supes that they encounter - and in Vol. 7: The Innocents more information is revealed about the twisted back-stories of several principle characters, particularly fan favourite Wee Hughie. Although the main subject matter in The Innocents is love and truth, Ennis' trademark black humour is still in plentiful supply. Pretty much every scene involving Super Duper is tragically hilarious and there are numerous golden one-liners. As much as I hate to agree with Butcher, I too am sick of living in a world where Jimi Hendrix chokes on puke an' Garth Brookes thrives.
on 11 July 2013
This is it. It's crunch time. Three years and six volumes have been leading up to this. Ennis has been painting us a wonderful picture of a realistic world, an intricate and exciting back-story, realistic villains, and characters we have come to love. Characters that we know will never have a happy ending but that doesn't stop us blindly hoping they will. We want a happily ever after against impossible odds. This is the volume that sees it all come crashing down.
It's Garth Ennis for goodness sake. He's got you by the balls and now he starts to twist. This is an exceptional volume with everyone at the top of their game. The balance between visuals and dialogue is perfect. There is flair and skill in the incredibly beautiful art. The language is spot on. The story is just right. All the elements have come together like a literary conjunction that has been polished till it glows like a supernova.
You know what is going to happen, and that isn't because the writing is bad, it's because the writing is good. It's what would happen. There is no deus ex machina here, just the ripples of cause and effect that have been building since the first volume. I can just imagine Ennis' smug face as all the pieces of his game fall into place and we get hit with an emotional avalanche. This is how it should be done. Double Thumbs Up!
on 20 January 2015
If you have got this far in the story arc you wont need to be told how good The Boys is, if you have jumped in here do your self a favor and go back to the beginning and enjoy the whole thing. Each time I order a new one of these beautiful trades i re-read the entire series to date, each time picking up more of the subtle details, jokes, sub-plots and visual design of the entire story.
The Boys, Ennis Anti-Superhero squad return in this, the seventh (ironically) compendium as the tale hots up and Wee Huey has to face some hard choices. Beautifully written with the typical Ennis sense of humour the reader gets to see the caring side of the characters as well as gets to see the fall out as the truth finally unveils itself.
Add to this the wonderful artwork of Darrick Robertson who really brings the characters to life and you know that its something special, the only complaint that I have is the huge wait in-between to get each instalment. A real gem of a title for the adult audience and whilst some may thing that Graphic novels should remain in the realm of the Young Adult, this clearly demonstrates that they shouldn't have all the fun.