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The boys

The boys / Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Originally published 2006-2012

Garth Ennis is perhaps one of the more interesting figures of the modern comics scene. Best known for his work for Marvel in the 90s and the Preacher series for Vertigo, his work is notorious for its transgressive content. Outspoken in his dislike for superheroes, The boys is Ennis’s farewell to the genre. Like Watchmen, The boys imagines what would “really” happen if superheroes were real. Unlike Watchmen, the superheroes in The boys are super-powered, thinly veiled caricatures of well-known DC and Marvel heroes. The boys features graphic, intense violence and depictions of virtually every paraphilia imagineable, but also a touching love story and in-depth examinations of masculinity, family, and friendship.

Brief plot description

(No end-game spoilers, but some early plot points will be revealed)

The boys follows Wee Hughie, a timid Scottish conspiracy theorist who becomes one of “The Boys”, a black-ops group charged with controlling and containing superheroes. The superheroes in the world of The boys are everyday people sponsored by the massive Vought-American corporation and granted superpowers through a drug called “compound V”. These heroes are largely vain, selfish, and unconcerned with anything but themselves. Super-hero battles generally result in massive civilian casualties as the super-powered combatants fight without any consideration for those around them. Billy Butcher, the teams leader, recruits Hughie for the team after Hughie’s girlfriend is accidentally killed during a superhero battle.

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