What I Bought This Week – The Boys, Vol. 7: The Innocents

Click this image to buy this graphic novel from Amazon.com and I will make millions thousands dollars pennies.

A few years ago Brian Vaughan told me he thought Garth Ennis was the best writer in comics. The reason was that only Ennis could write a tearjerking scene about the loyalty between a boy and his dog, or the connection of true love… and then follow it up with a page of a one-eyed yokel being accidentally peed on just prior to being brutally murdered for witnessing the wrong chickenfucking.

… with essentially no warning.

That’s right: Garth Ennis — at least at his best — at least on Preacher was the Survival of the Fittest of tier one comic book writers. Versatile.

Despite being a fan of Ennis’s work since the first Preacher recommendation I ever got from — admittedly — Vaughan, I have always been an Alan Moore zombie (that is, since being turned on to Watchmen by, um, Vaughan). But like anyone with even an ounce of taste, I have appreciated Ennis at his best.

The problem is, Ennis hasn’t been on Preacher for like ten years.

Where has that utterly versatile / heartwarming / ultra-violent writer been hiding?

I read the first two runs on Punisher. I liked Garth’s Punisher, but Punisher — even with Steve Dillion on the art chores — is no Preacher. I’ve followed most of his work, including the first six editions of The Boys.

But not until this edition have we seen a glimmer of Ennis at his best (at least not on The Boys).

Maybe I should take a step back. What is The Boys?

The Boys is kind of a twisted Dark Mirror of Astro City (did I mention “twisted”?) … Super heroes are real and regular people see and interact with them. But unlike Astro City, for the most part, they only look super heroic. Super heroes in the world of The Boys are mostly corporate puppets who get paid millions of dollars to make appearance fees and sell product.

You know, how the world would probably be if it were ruled by mega corporations (with super heroes).

And for the most part, the super heroes are worthless at actual heroics. They go to Rescue someone, mis-judge the level of their super speed… Tear her arms off. They have all the physical super powers but none of the discipline. They all have vast wealth… Do the math. Most of the so-called super heroes are super hedonists, indulging in a nonstop roller coaster of drug use and sexual acrobatics with essentially no consequences.

Enter The Boys.

The Boys are a group of CIA-backed black jackets who observe — and oppose — the so-called super heroes (and the corporations that back them). Now don’t get me wrong… The Boys can be petty and cruel – and certainly violent — but at least they are not the undisciplined and omni-destructive bastards in the four-color flapping capes.

So what about number seven?

Unbeknownst to everyone, the most innocent and green member of The Boys has been seeing the youngest and (at least previously) most innocent member of essentially the Justice League of Ennis’s The Boys universe. Somehow, neither one of them knows who the other is.

At least until this volume.

The Boys has been entertaining for the entirety of its run. But “entertaining” in this context has mostly been the gratuitous boob shot, laughing at a supernatural level of frat boy-ness, harsh language, and watching the bad guys run in Terror of The Boys.

But volume seven — as much as it has the same Ennis edge — reminds us of the incredible emotional arsenal that this writer can bring to bear if he wants to. Like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell *, this book will break your heart.

I’ve probably already said enough. I don’t actually want to spoil it!

Highly recommended.


* To Joey Pasco – On or around Page 633

facebook comments:


#1 Alfrebaut on 11.18.10 at 11:05 pm

I actually gave up on The Boys a while ago because while it was interesting, it wasn’t exceptional, and ultimately, I just didn’t want to read it anymore. If volume 7 is good, or even great, well, I’ll just have to take your word on it. I don’t feel like slogging through six volumes of stuff I didn’t think was worth it when I was reading it before. Or, could I just jump into volume 7 with the understanding that I had from reading those old issues?

Also, as it happens, Y: The Last Man is my favorite comic series of all time(even though I didn’t like the last few stories as much). I don’t know what Brian’s doing these days now that Lost and Ex Machina are over, but I really do hope he’s going to do something new soon.

#2 ReAnimator on 11.19.10 at 10:16 am

Preacher was the first non superhero book i ever picked up back in the day (haven’t really picked one up since), so i have a pretty big soft spot for Ennis, and it’s probably that absence of superheros that has made me enjoy the Boys so much.

#3 MTGBattlefield on 11.19.10 at 2:52 pm

What I Bought This Week – The Boys, Vol. 7: The Innocents…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

You must log in to post a comment.