by Garth Ennis, Darrick Robertson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: March 4th, 2008
Volume 1: The Name of the Game Review
First things first – The Boys is absolutely batshit, in the best possible way. For those who haven’t read it or seen the TV series, The Boys takes place in a universe where superheroes are very real, and are managed by corporations looking to capitalise on their powers and hero status. The first volume introduces us to the core group of ‘The Boys’, as well as the superhero Justice League-alike ‘The Seven’. Volume Two moves away from this a little, showing us other superheroes outside of The Seven and then, in the second half, taking us out of the US completely.
2008 feels like a lifetime ago compared to 2021. The world was a very different place, and when it comes to some things we would not accept today, you can see elements of it in the pages of ‘Get Some’. The first story in this volume revolves around Tek-Knight, struggling with a strange ailment, and The Boy soon find out his previous sidekick is heavily involved in the local gay scene, specifically attending group meetings. When a young gay man turns up dead, Butcher and Hughie investigate.
‘Get Some’ deals with homophobia, but it is very much seen through a cis het perspective. (Again, 2008) We have Butcher coming out with slurs, but it’s ‘okay’ because he doesn’t mean them, and actually he doesn’t really have anything against gay men. Whereas Hughie, who calls him out on it, hesitates about going into a gay bar, confiding that it makes him uncomfortable. It’s two different perspectives drawn together, kindness and niceness clashing, and it makes for an interesting element, though undoubtedly we have come a long way from 2008, and I have no doubt Butcher’s way of speaking would probably be thrown out the window today (which is definitely a good thing).
This story looks at the people who use marginalised community for their own purposes, while remaining outside it, and as it moves forward, Hughie gets drawn even deeper into the superhero world. It raises some interesting points, and examines the corporate world in an intriguing way, while still walking through a mystery to be solved and including very adult jokes.
The second part of the graphic novel gives us “Glorious Five Year Plan”, in which The Boys travel to Russia, to discover exactly why supes’ are having their heads blown off. Up? Either way, it’s gory, and the gore only increases throughout the tale.
We get a glimpse into Russia in the present day, and an idea of the past some people cling into, including “Love Sausage”, who introduces Hughie to a drink no one else can stomach. Some funny moments here and decent twists.
Overall, I do think this is a good series. It’s not going to be for everyone, and some of it is, twelve years on, very outdated. It’s different to the show, which has been updated into a more modern setting, but the common elements are there, and it’s still an enjoyable, sometimes quite biting read.