Category Archives: dynamite entertainment

Review – The Boys #39 (DE, 2010)

Warning – Spoilers

The Hughie / Anna (aka Starlight) romance has been burning brightly for around 2 years now. It’s a touching and (fairly) believable take on a burgeoning relationship between 2 lovestruck young adults. The fact that Ennis has played it straight and sweet (well, as straight as Ennis gets, so there is lots of sex and some toilet humour)for so long with this plot thread is a great example of how strong this title is. Storylines can grow and develop, have time to breathe, meaning the emotional impact of a plot twist is heightened and really does grab the attention. The way that Butcher finds out about Hughie and Annie is paced so well, that although you know what is coming, it puts a knot in your stomach as follow each panel until Butchers terrible realisation. And he had only popped out to the local British shop to get some tea bags (nice touch there, Mr Ennis and Mr Robertson).

Elsewhere, Mothers Milk finds comfort, but at a (financial) cost. I didn’t know what to make of that scene. I don’t know if Ennis was going for sympathy, pity or sadness. It left me feeling curious.

The other highlight of this terrific issue was The Frenchmans ongoing battle to save the Female’s soul. By introducing her to a British institution. I will not spoil it, but it is a bit of an in-joke, one for the fan-boys and old men alike, and I loved it.

Finally, over at Vought American, power-plays are being set into motion. We meet a new character, Jess Bradley, a lady with ambition. I am sure we will be seeing more of her soon. How she fits into the overall scheme of things, time will tell.

Entitled ‘What I Know’, this issue served Billy Butcher – who thinks he has a firm grip on every situation – with an unexpected variable. One that is going to have to be dealt with. One that will be dealt with at a price.

Another brilliant installment of The Boys.

Review – The Boys #38 (DE, 2010)

A return to form after the (frankly) disappointing ‘origin’ of the Frenchman, who probably deserved something a bit better than the lame story he got saddled with. Anyway, he fares better in this issue, as The Female has her past explored. Quite a tale it is too – with Japanese scientists in a race against time to beat Vought American to a successful ‘Superhero’ compound, it is one woman who makes an (in)difference. Ennis and Robertson successfully manage to convey the fury and violence of The Female, but also her vulnerability, and you are able to pity a young child who had their innocence and joy robbed by a combination of bad luck, circumstance and one terrible mother….

Beyond that, there are hints of harder times for the Boys ahead. Maybe this interview with Ennis will give further clues. I don’t know where The Female is heading at the end of this issue, but it seems portentous. Glad to see she has recovered from that beating she took a few issues back. Loved the cover art for this issue, seems like Deadpool likes Alien as well. I think Darick Robertson wins this particular face off though – there is something quite beautiful about the art on that cover. Maybe the best one yet he has served up for The Boys.

A great start to 2010. Still one of the best titles.

Review – The Boys #37 (DE, 2009)

La Plume De Ma Tante Est Sur La Table

So, now we get the Frenchmans origin. Hughie, perhaps speaking for the ready, wonders why we / he is having another ‘origin’ story told him straight after Mothers Milk beginnings. To be honest, it all seemed a bit silly, an excuse to dabble in a bit of Gallic nonsense and even at the end of the tale, we are none the wiser if what we have been told is ‘true’. There is a bit of an obligatory shag in there (just to remind you you are reading something written by Garth Ennis), some inventive violence / violation and not much of a story – certainly nothing to add to continuity or character development.

Whereas the Mothers Milk origin had a story to tell, this issues ‘origin’ story felt lightweight, as if Ennis is obliged to get all of the characters back history told, but is heart is not in it. We shall see. Shame that ‘The Boys’ has to bow out of 2009 with a (Gallic) shrug of indifference. The good times will return, but this diversion was a missed opportunity. Only the last line that Frenchie said has any impact, and its significance may be telling in the coming issues.

Solicitation for The Boys #39 (DE, 2010)

Out In Feb 2010….

Written by GARTH ENNIS
Art and cover by DARICK ROBERTSON
Virgin Art retailer incentive cover (1-in-15) by DARICK ROBERTSON
Signed Virgin Art retailer incentive cover (1-in-25) signed by GARTH ENNIS
32 pages

What Hughie knows is not what Butcher knows, and what Annie January knows is something else again. Meanwhile, Frenchie tries a different tack with the
Female, and MM keeps abreast of all developments. The second half of the saga kicks off with a bang that leaves everyone reeling, in this special prologue episode to the next Boys adventure: What I Know.

Review – The Boys #35 (Dynamite, 2009)

For all his bravado and tendency to shock, it is important to remember that Garth Ennis can also show a much more sensitive side. Shock is not his M.O. He is a talented storyteller who will use that aspect of his style to propel the story, but as we see with issue #35 of The Boys, it is when he focuses on real human drama that some of his best work emerges.

Ostensibly a riff on the vogue for ‘origin’ stories in comics, the ‘origin’ of Mothers Milk is absorbing, sad, tragic – and with enough shock moments to remind you that you are, after all, reading an Ennis title. You learn of his childhood, his link with Vought, the exploitation of workers, the immorality of Big Business, the best boxing scene since Frank Miller was in charge of Daredevil some 25 years ago or more AND MM’s first meeting with Billy Butcher. The Boys have enough reputation now for this sort of origin story to have a real resonance and Ennis does not disappoint.

The art, with Darick Robertson back after Carlos Ezquerra filled in for the last arc, is exemplary – Robertson can portray any aspect of a City with ease, his character drawing is brilliant and his dark humour seeps through when it comes to the more shocking stuff. I say it a lot, but it is still true – The Boys has great quality control. It is never less than brilliant. They even do ‘origin’ stories that are better than 99% of all other ‘origin’ stories. Probably. There is that much goodness in the tale of Mothers Milk that it is enough to spread across 2 issues – more to come with issue #36. Eagerly anticipating…….

Review – The Boys: Herogasm #3 (DE, 2009)

More of the same at ‘Herogasm’, which means more T & A and inventive sexual scenarios, including, this time around, an activity involving one of those overworked hookers and a dog. Yes, Herogasm #3 contains bestiality – though it is unclear whether or not the dog is a superdog or not. Lucky dog, maybe, but whether he has super powers is to be confirmed. Looking at the various configurations of flesh, sexual positions, sexual couplings, drugs and general debauchery, I must admit to being jaded by it all – but the Supes, of course have more stamina and staying power – this is their one big party of the year, right? Maybe that is the point – the reader is supposed to feel exhausted just watching them.

This issue concerns itself with a couple of plots, one being The Boys putting a plan into action, using an analogue of the Fantastic Four (and primarily that iteration of the Thing) as a diversion tactic. It is a kidnap, and apart from Hughie being involved in an encounter with Black Noir, it all goes to plan. Hughie, however, is more than a bit perturbed by the days events. Don’t know what Black Noir actually did, but it looked pretty graphic and painful. The other plot development is a concerned with a downed Trans Pacific airline which was en-route from Sydney to LA. With no survivors, this is obviously a tragedy, and a conscientious Vought American exec has seen a copy of the last flight transmissions, and there is mention of a flying naked…and that is all we get. Seems as if Herogasm spilled out (sorry) into the skies, and collateral damage resulted. Time for the hush-up.

I am more than a bit confused about the continuity between Herogasm and the main Boys title. Is it set before most of ‘The Self-Preservation Society’? I assume so as The Female is still operational.

Some of the Convention / Herogasm talk – on Superhero politics, on animosity between Heroes and Villains mingling, on the fact that some of the smaller companies heroes may get bumped off due to the ‘crossover’ event that is Herogasm (they may die due to excess, it gets spun and retold as a heroic death) – that was all cool.

With everything that is going on, you are pleasantly surprised by the end reveal – when you see the target of The Boys kidnapping. Tethered to a chair and having suffered a bit at the hands of Butcher and Co, it is a great moment. Herogasm #3 continues this mini-series with some intriguing story threads put in place. Is it as good as The Boys? Nearly. I just wish the continuity issue could be resolved, as it seems as if this event is not in ‘real-time’ with the main title, but is a recent occurence, and that slightly spoils the enjoyment.

Review – The Boys: Herogasm #2 (DE, 2009)

More debauchery, graphically illustrated, continues unabated at the Herogasm R&R event for the Supes. Everywhere you look are the sights and sounds of unchecked power, the loss of responsible behaviour to the raging thirst of powerful desires. It is a powerful argument as to why The Boys exist. They do not really come into it until the end, but their cameo is worth the price of admission, and sets up the next issue so well its just a pity it could not have been brought into this issue with some of the (literal) excess trimmed. It is a slight gripe, but otherwise the issue is another cracker. The Vought American powerplay moves into gear, with the plan to take out the Boys being pushed to one of the super teams – and it gives some explanation to some of the events in the already released Boys #31.

This issue is drenched in debauchery. Be warned. Especially if you are an older reader and have young kids. Don’t leave it lying around, unless you want to answer some awkward questions. So, in summary, NSFW, NSFK (not safe for kids) but bloody good fun. He is a very naughty boy that Garth Ennis, and has a very fertile imagination, especially when it comes to the supes choice of drug consumption (you probably wouldn’t be able to guess….but when you find out, you will not be surprised that he (Ennis) thought of it either….) His mate Darick Robertson provides a suitably risque cover, and John McCrea is very adept at illustrating all the SEX and DRUGS that fly around the panels.

I am getting used to a dose of The Boys world every 2 weeks. Can we make this a permanent fixture please?