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The Boys #1
posted July 3, 2006
 

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Creators: Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson
Publishing Information: WildStorm, October 2006, 32 pages, $2.99
Ordering Numbers:

It's interesting how that which once seemed exciting and raunchy can become dull and predictable. In The Boys #1, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson provide an almost by-the-numbers beginning to what looks like a satirically flavored black comedy with adventure elements of the type you can find in both creators' oeuvre and in comics generally going right back to the earliest issues of 2000 AD. In a world full of superheroes increasingly indifferent to the plight of normal people, lead character Butcher is putting a team together (mostly back together) of people to better control and, when necessary, kill them. Butcher exudes confidence, always playing each situation right: people either flee in terror or whip their panties off when he comes visiting. There's little doubt that the superheroes are doomed. How much you'll enjoy the journey likely depends on how much you go into it thinking this kind of nasty, macho, tongue-in-cheek posturing is super-cool and/or hilarious.

Personally, I find these kinds of works as predictable in their own way, as much as a wish-fulfillment fantasy as the superhero stuff it criticizes. My dislike for superhero comics' pomposity is a fully formed flower and doesn't need any watering. Although it's only a first issue and maybe there are surprises in store somewhere down the road, this story feels like its been told a few dozen times before with more urgency. The component parts are find for this kind of project. Robertson's art proves appealing despite some really dull coloring, and one suspects Ennis can write jokes like the ones in this first issue all day long. Robertson and Ennis work well together staging a very talky first time out of the gate (see image above). But is all of that enough? Not for me, at least not on the evidence thus far. Not this time.