New comic book ‘The Boys’ offensively entertaining

Ally Melling

When Doomsday killed Superman in the early ’90s, little thought was given to the thousands of victims working in buildings the pair destroyed mid-battle. This concept alone illustrates one of the advantages of comic book reality: There are no repercussions to collateral damage.

But have you ever wondered how many people are killed during a superhero battle?

This realistic look into a superhuman world gives the new DC comic, The Boys, a fresh, feisty perspective.

The Boys is written by Garth Ennis, whose name alone gives any comic geek a good idea of what to expect from this new series. Ennis is best known for the popular Vertigo series Preacher, an explicit comic that featured an inbred descendent of Jesus and a lovable suicide survivor named Arseface among its colorful characters. Even when writing for mainstream comic characters such as Marvel Comics’ Punisher, Ennis adds a cynicism, rawness and dark humor that has become his signature.

With The Boys, Ennis presents an all-new level of harsh comic storyline that, he promises, will “out-Preacher Preacher.” The sides of good and evil are questioned and the boundaries between right and wrong are blurred. This book is another foray into anti-hero territory, a realm Ennis is no stranger to.

The story focuses on “The Boys,” a group of newly gathered watchdogs hired secretly to monitor the activities of superheroes.

At first, one may wonder why the good guys need to be watched, but by the end of the third issue, readers see that superheroes, like our politicians, hide dirty secrets from the public.

For example, in the last issue, an innocent super-girl-type was welcomed to an elite super-team equal to the Justice League that she admired greatly. However, she found she had to perform fellatio on numerous members before she would be officially accepted.

It is this perverse abuse of power that leads Wee Hughie to join the mysterious Mr. Butcher and his covert team that includes a mute, psycho killing-machine called “The Female,” a butt-kicking, effeminate “Frenchman” and a muscle-bound senior known as “Mother’s Milk.” As the team’s moral compass, Wee Hughie was devastated in the first issue when a careless superhero/villain scuffle literally ripped his girlfriend from his embrace (he winds up holding her disembodied arms).

In the latest issue number four, “Cherry: Part II,” Wee Hughie and the others survey a superhero team called the Teenage Kix as the adolescents enjoy Babylonian sex-fests, orgies and prostitutes. Wee Hughie also contemplates leaving The Boys after Butcher injects with a performance enhancing serum to ready him for future battle with superheroes.

A reminder: each issue of The Boys sports a guaranteed mix of nudity, sexual content and vulgar language; but, following Ennis tradition, it’s always applicable and humorous to the storyline. The story wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining without it.

The Boys may have just begun, but Ennis is starting strong, aided by the illustrations of Darick Robertson. The art is so realistic that readers will have no trouble recognizing the character design of Wee Hughie as non other than Shaun of the Dead star and admitted comic book-fan Simon Pegg.

Though it carries a mature reader label, the knob gets turned up to 11 with The Boys. Nothing is sacred here, and this reader at least is looking forward to just how far the envelop gets pushed with this rash and wickedly fun comic series. If the first four issues are any gauge, the envelope has already fallen off the table and been stomped on.

Contact ALL reporter Ally Melling at [email protected].

The Boys

Written by Garth Ennis

Published by Wildstorm

Stater rating (out of five): ****1/2