Published on June 5th, 2012 | by Mike Harding0
Mikey’s Library Hot Picks: The Boys collected review
In 2006 Garth Ennis released his creator owned series The Boys, under DC’s Wildstorm imprint. In January 2007, DC decided to cancel the series with issue six, DC had expressed concerns regarding the anti-supehero tone of the book. Although if the owners of DC had actually looked at the book, then they would have seen this prior to printing the first issue. Fortunately in February 2007, the good people at Dynamite Entertainment announced that they would publish the book instead, including reprinting the original six issues in a trade paperback.
Now Ennis wasnt alone in this venture, from the very beginning he has been teamed up with the artist Darick Robertson. When the series moved to Dynamite, it seemed that Robertson would have to leave the title as he was signed exclusively to DC, however, he was given special dispensation to carry on providing the artwork for the series.
The Boys is set between 2006 and present day, in a world where superheroes exist. However, most of the superheroes in the series’ universe are corrupted by their celebrity status, and often engage in reckless behavior, compromising the safety of the world. For this reason, a superpowered CIA squad, known informally as “The Boys“, are charged with monitoring the superhero community.
When you read it as a concept, it sounds good, nothing to worry about there, however, when you begin to read the books, it becomes evident that some of the “reckless behaviour” is extremely disturbing.
This review is more of a class in The Boys, a list of the main characters, and the books available so far. We will start with the cast as, without the miscreants of this universe the book would be pretty poor.
Firstly we have the leader of The Boys, Billy Butcher. Billy has been working for the government for some considerable time keeping superheroes in check, and when needed removing them by any means possible. Over the years Billy has become increasingly violent. He shares an incident with the leader of the Seven (the boys universe version of JLA), which we only discover the details of in the 10th TPB.
Next we have Hughie Campbell, nicknamed “Wee Hughie” he is the readers access point into the world of The Boys. When tragedy strikes Hughie’s life, he is offered the chance at revenge by Billy Butcher. Hughie is not used to the violence displayed by the rest of his team mates, and often restrains himself during fights because of this. Hughie has a girlfriend who he hides the truth regarding his work from, however, this girl has secrets of her own. Incidentally Hughie is deliberately drawn to look a bit like Simon Pegg, who was very flattered, and wrote an introduction for one of the TPB’s
Next we have Mother Milk, a large African-American who was exposed to the super power generating formula “V” whilst in the womb. The formula leaves him with a need to constantly drink his mother’s breast milk (see the sick stuff is kicking in). MM is very patient, and cares deeply about Hughie throughout the series.
Then we have Frenchie, little is known about this man, one issue does deal with his origin, but its possible that it was all delusional as he is mad as a box of frogs. Frenchie may be mad, but he is also lethal, and appears to be the only one who can really relate with the groups final member The Female.
The Female (of the species), is a young mute girl, who used to carry out freelance work for the mafia. She is extremely dangerous, and shows levels of violence that shock Billy at times. The Female appears to care for Hughie, Hughie’s hamster, and Billy’s dog Terror, as well as Frenchie.
Then we have the villains, in a book in which the violent crew are the heroes, it is only natural that the villains, are in fact, the Superheroes. All the heroes in this world have been created by a company called Vought-America Consolidated. The company was a defense contractor, who decided to begin creating superheroes during the second world war. They now have a string of teams, that they market to the public, using comic books to reflect some of the battles they stage, to keep the need for their ”heroes”.
Baring this in mind, the main villains are The Seven, led by the Superman inspired (yet completely insane) Homelander, along with the aging Queen Maeve, Black Noir, A-Train, The Deep, Jack From Jupiter, Lamplighter, and Starlighter (I know its eight people, but one doesn’t survive very long). This team are twisted to the core, there doesn’t appear to be a line that they won’t cross.
We then have several other minor groups such as, The Young Americans, Teenage Kix, Payback, G-Men, and G-Wiz. Throughout the series these teams are targets for The Boys, each containing blatant parodies of major Marvel and DC characters.
So, that’s who they are, now what can you read? Well here’s a list of current collected trades available from libraries
Vol 01: The Name of the Game (issues 1-6)
Vol 02: Get Some (issues 7-14)
Vol 03: Good for the Soul (Issues 15-22)
Vol 04: We Gotta Go Now (issues 23-30
Vol 05: Herogasm (Herogasm 1-6)
Vol 06: The Self-Preservation Society (Issues 31-38)
Vol 07: The Innocents (issues 39-47
Vol 08: Highland Laddie (Highland Laddie 1-6)
Vol 09: The Big Ride (issues 48-59)
Vol 10: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker (Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker 1-6)
Vol 11: Over the Hill with the Sword of a Thousand Men (issues 60-65)
That’s it for this week, I’m currently reading B.P.R.D. for a future feature, but will get some more books reviewed before that, don’t forget to comment, or leave a suggestion for a book to review.