This is the beginning of the end game and it’s exactly what any fan of “The Boys” could hope for. For all the ups and down this series has experienced, when it is good it has been great. This issue shows Garth Ennis is going to bring this saga down with as much force and impact as he can muster.
Hughie is a character who’s been bottling up a lot of emotion and confused feelings for a long while. It’s about time for the top to blow and Butcher sets up the perfect situation for it. This is a full circle for Hughie, and while the ultimate moment might actually lack as much heart as it deserves -- it’s over too quickly and feels throwaway in a schlock gimmick sense -- the exciting aspect is that Hughie now has a clear future ahead of him. With so much baggage stored away, Hughie is open to go in any direction and that adds a possibly dangerous variable to this climactic time.
The central action sequence featuring Frenchie and the Female is quintessential “The Boys.” The action borders on the depraved as blood is spilled and people kill and maim without hesitation. However, there is a fun element to it all no matter how severe the actual stakes of the matter, and you can’t help but find yourself smirking if not outright laughing. These bizarre set ups to laugh at the violence are exactly the sort of truthful superhero deconstruction Ennis set out to delve into with the very first issue. The resolution of this action is smartly put together, though relies on a little too much trust in the supposed enemy. It shows the angle Ennis wants to play this game. There has always been a political edge to this romp and the conclusion is going to be full of deceit and intrigue as much as fists through body parts.
Russ Braun continues to nail every absurd aspect of this book. There are two characters, Annie and Mauve, who share many physical traits with the main difference that one is older than the other. A lesser artist would pair these two up as twins, especially in the wide shots, and yet Braun makes both ladies amazingly individual. There are parallels, but they aren’t lazy clones. When one artist can showcase a violent femme jumping through the torso of a warrior robot as easily as he can etch an emotion on a man’s face, you know the series can go anywhere and stay safe.
“The Boys” is a book scary in its ability to amaze you on such varied levels. The violence is school yard fun while the conniving and plotting behind it all are extremely adult. The gags can be juvenile while the emotional character arcs tend to be more mature and heartbreaking. It seems that the more serious matters get in this book, the better the stories become. Right here, as we face down the end of it all, things are deadly serious and that bodes well for the content and quality to come in the coming months. Everything “The Boys” does well is showcased right here in one issue.