The Boys: A Retrospective Part 2
Dynamite Comic’s The Boys has been one of my personal favorite comics since the first time I read issue #1. This book takes place in a pessimistically realistic universe where superheroes are created and backed by a major corporation known as Vought American. Vought American uses a drug known as compound-V to create these super powered individuals. These superheroes, or “supes” as they are referred to, are arrogant, irresponsible and dangerous to the general public. The Boys are a C.I.A. team created to keep the supes in check.
Through the course of these reviews I will walk you through the major plot points of the series up to the last issue released at the time of publishing. I will break these reviews down by trade or story arc, starting with Vol. One: The Name of the Game, to avoid publishing a never ending article. I should take this opportunity to warn you that The Boys is intended for mature audiences due to graphic sex, nudity, gratuitous violence and a few bad words. I should also warn you that this review contains major spoilers. The Boys was created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.
When last we left our heroes Wee Hughie had just had the surprise of his life when he, during an encounter with The Teenage Kix, accidentally killed a super hero or supe called The Blarney Cock. This event shook Hughie to the point that he decided he wasn’t going to work with The Boys anymore, however Butcher talked him out of leaving.
When Hughie next goes to work he is presented with a black leather trench coat, similar to those worn by the other members of the team. Hughie and Butcher then go to a comic book store that is run by overweight Italian twins whom, it is implied, have mob ties. Butcher explains that comics are the way Vought American control the news that gets out about their supes. After a few minutes of Butcher explaining this to Hughie the Twins tell them the Legend will see them. The Legend is a tiny old bald man who has an encyclopedic knowledge of supes and is never seen without a fat cigar in hand. He explains to Butcher and Hughie that there was a murder committed recently which the police weren’t very interested in solving because it may involve a supe. The victim, a young homosexual man named Steve, may have been involved romantically with a supe called Swingwing.
Meanwhile another Supe known as Tek Knight seeks help from a psychologist. Tek Knight is a member of a super group called Payback. He explains to the therapist that he has started having sudden uncontrollable urges to have carnal relations with various people, animals and objects. These urges, which first manifested while on a mission, got him suspended from Payback (the object his urge was focused on was a teammate called Mandroid). As he explains the various incidents that have taken place since these urges started he mentions having a boy sidekick called Laddio. The therapist asks various leading questions to find out if Tek Knight is a homosexual or a pedophile which outrage Tek Knight. Tek Knight’s urges eventually get him thrown out of the office.
Butcher and Hughie start their investigation at a gay bar the victim spent time at. They discover that Swingwing was Vought Americans attempt at reaching out to the gay community and that he did in fact know the victim. It turns out that Swingwing sporadically attended meetings of the gay community to show his support and occasionally brought Tek Knight with him. Upon learning this Butcher and Hughie decide to pay Tek Knight a visit. During their less then friendly conversation with Tek Knight they learn that Swingwing was the original Laddio, his address and the fact that he is not gay like they previously thought. They visit Swingwing in his apartment and after a brief altercation he confesses to the crime and explains that what happened was an accident. Butcher then tells him hes going to be The Boys stool pigeon and lets him go.
This particular story arc is a great way for Ennis and Robertson to continue to develop their fairly young characters yet propel the story forward at the same time. We begin to see Butcher’s less then conventional ways of doing things and see even more of Hughie’s moral objections to the things he has to do as a member of The Boys. Tek Knight and Swingwing weren’t necessarily likable villian’s however they did seem very human, a trait Ennis and Robertson are very good at instilling in their characters. Make sure you come back next week when we meet one of my absolute favorite comic book characters of all time: The Love Sausage!
See you Next Wednesday!