Review by From the Booth‘s own Ken
The Boys is an ongoing series published by Dynamite that currently includes 65 issues. Garth Ennis has said of the series that he hopes to “out-Preacher Preacher,” meaning that this series would push the bounds even farther than his best known and most critically acclaimed work. The Boys takes place in a universe where superheroes exist but most have been corrupted by their celebrity status and act without regard for human life.
Ennis is a man who needs little introduction. He has written Hitman, Preacher, and is the definitive writer for the Punisher. People either love or hate him for his gritty characters in morally ambiguous situations. Darick Robertson proved his bona fides while working as the artist on Transmetropolitan. He has worked on Punisher: Born and Wolverine.
The story opens with Hughie and his girlfriend declaring their love for each other. Within a few panels, something tragic (and sorta hilarious in an Ennis kind of way) happens to Hughie’s love which leaves him with an antipathy towards superheroes. In comes Billy Butcher, a CIA affiliate who offers Hughie a chance to join his team that monitors and kills superheroes that abuse their power. Despite having no special skills, Hughie accepts and begins working his way up the chain of superheroes hoping to reach The Seven, a Justice League-like organization of which his girlfriend’s murderer is a member.
The art in the book is very similar to Robertson’s work on TransMet and works great when depicting the beautiful ugliness of the world Ennis has created. The story distinguishes itself well from Ennis’s other works in that the main character is hapless and not at all a bad-ass while keeping all the violence and adult situations that make his work compelling. With Ennis on story and Robertson on art, this book is an absolute must-read.