Do you like comic books which are expressly not for kids?
Do you like violence?
Do you like seeing superheroes getting their butts whooped?
Do you like seeing all the gory details of all the bone crunching fights?
If you have answered yes to one or more of the above questions, I prescribe 1 healthy dose of The Boys Vol 1: The Name of the Game by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson three times a day before meals.
Seriously, though, The Boys is one rip roaring ride of mayhem; a veritable feast of no holds-barred sex, violence and general moral depravity. The Boys is exactly what we have come to expect from Garth Ennis and those of you familiar with his previous works will not be disappointed by this series. It centres around Wee Hughie’s induction into a CIA-run, covert group known only as The Boys (even though one is female), that keep the status quo and stop the superheroes getting out of line or forgetting their place. Now that probably sounds really boring, but the fact that this is not a Marvel or DC comic means that the creative team of Ennis and Robertson can really let loose on were they take this.
If you like your comics to answer the big what if questions: What if all superheroes were arrogant, selfish celebrity types? What if there was a special force tasked to keep them in line? What if you had super-strength and punched someone in the stomach? You know, those questions we lay awake at night thinking about, then this book is for you (you very, very strange person!).
I prefer to describe The Boys as a spoof of the comic book universes of Marvel and DC. There are plentiful veiled references to the mainstays of these universes which will make the seasoned comic book reader smugly chortle to himself. I suppose this book is mainly aimed at those that have read a lot of comic books and are a bit world-weary of the perfect superhero image. But there is plenty
in the book to entertain the new reader; seeing a bulldog deflower a shitzu being one of the more memorable images – yes, this book is that depraved.
However, the one thing that might niggle at the reader is Darick Robertson’s choice to use Simon Pegg as his model for the main character of Wee Hughie. I love Simon Pegg and have done ever since Spaced and Big Train, but I would have preferred a nobody, an original face to be the main character, as the use of a well known actor/comedian/writer jars with the reader’s ability to create their own perception of Wee Hughie. Saying this, I am sure those of you that read TV spin-off comic books will have no such trouble.
Vol 1: is the first of many and as a result it is mainly an introduction of the colourful psychotic characters and setting, so don’t expect a huge amount of superhero bashing. However, do expect plenty of laughs, grimaces and guilty sniggers.
As far as fun, entertaining and crazy books go, this is near the top. I dare you to buy this book and not laugh out loud at least once. I’m off to buy the second volume!