Or – “What You Always Expected The X-Mansion Was Really Like…”

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For some time now, Butcher and his band of Merrie Men have focused pretty much exclusively on The Seven, a Justice-League-esque group of superhumans who have proven themselves to be petty, vain, cruel, venal, and just flat-out awful, with feet of clay that reach all the way to their necks.  While they’re still on the radar, the group has now adjusted it’s focus, widening their perspective while adjusting their focus to marvelous detail, to show us what’s wrong with legendary (and gigantic) supergroup, The G-Men.  Care to place a wager on how many deadly sins’ll be broken in these pages?  Adult situations and dialogue within, I might add…

Previously, on The Boys:  Wee Hughie spent some quality time with The Legend, a strangely familiar old Bo1.jpgman who squats in the basement of a comic shop like a bespectacled troll, and in so doing, learned of the history of Vought-American, (the company that created superhumans) of the incompetence and greed of the Homelander and his super Seven, and why there’s no longer a Brooklyn Bridge.  With this history forefront in his mind, Hughie returns to the team’s Flatiron Building digs, only to find Butcher with a new mission: put a man in side John Godolkin’s G-Men hero group, and figure out why his young wards are committing public suicide.  Since the other members of the Boys are known quantities, Wee Hughie himself is given the task of becoming one of ‘the supes.’  Donning a ridiculous costume, and redubbed “Bagpipe,” Hughie is sent to infilitrate G-Wiz, one of the feeder groups that keeps the G-Men supplied with tights-wearing, angsty morons.  It’s the kind of mission that makes you expect a tense Donnie Brasco thriller, with twists and turns and intrigues…

We open on the G-Wiz house, a familiar site to anyone who has ever been in a college town.  An inflatable girl adorns the porch, the entire house is adorned with graffiti, and the walls shake for blocks in any given direction to the strains of “Louie, Louie.”  As our view moves into the house, we see a somewhat shell-shocked Hughie standing in the middle of a bacchanal, with drunken superheroes cavorting about in togas.  Tense thriller, indeed.  Now we see what Butcher indicated that this would be the easiest group to infiltrate.  While Inspector Campbell acts as the inside man, we see team caretaker Mother’s Milk doing the legwork, investigating the site where one Godokin’s protegees died last issue.  The local authorities give him nothing new, save for that her last words were “Where’s Uncle Paul?”

Back at Delta House G-Wiz headquarters, Wee Hughie gets the grand tour, including the real names of his brothers, the introduction to “The Dude With No Name,” a catheterized former G-Wiz pledge who does nothing but sit in stupor on the couch.  “He goes way, way back before us…  But his initiation, okay, they told him he had to like, shave the snow leopards at the Bronx zoo, an’ he like, believe them, dude…  Every generation, we all look after him…  He’s an inspiration, dude!”  The facilities also include the porn room, where the leather seats have tissue and lotion built into the armchairs (eww) and the DVD filth lines all four walls to the ceiling.  Elsewhere, Butcher consults with The Legend, verifying that they’ve covered all their bases, and that Hughie is safe.  Legend opines that Hughie is a good kid, then snorts, “Kinda funny, me talkin’ to you about good people, considerin’ some of the $#!+ we’ve done.”  Butcher agrees, and wonders why Director Rayner insisted that they turn their attention to the G-Men.  “Why’s she so bleedin’ fascinated by the G-Men all of a sudden?  Why’s she gotta look me in the eye and tell me to make ’em a priority?”  Legend waves it off, and there’s an awkward moment when Butcher thanks him for bringing Wee Hughie up to speed, mentioning someone called Mallory.  A baleful glare is his only response, and Butcher apologizes…

Mother’s Milk continues his investigation (buying, for some reason, an enormous jug of maple syrup) trying to find out what was in the building that the suicide bomber (or, more to the point, suicide burster) was hypnotized by.  He finds nothing of value, but is invited to read through the town’s records.  “It ain’t on computer or nothin,” the sherriff tells him, “it’s gonna be a lot of work.”  Mother’s Milk replies that he’s one patient mother#&$@er, and heads for the archives.  One of the series quiet little mysteries is answered, as we see the G-Wiz goons prank-calling the headquarters of The Seven and flatulating into the phone.  Starlight (secretly Hughie’s girl Annie) picks up the handset just as Hughie screams something rude about A-Train, and both are stunned.  “Couldn’t be…” they agree, and move on.  Nearby the mansion, The Frenchman and The Female of the Species play Scrabble (His words: liberte, fraternite, egalite.  Her words: despair, apocalypse, infanticide, mouthrape) and generally deal with the boredom of a stakeout.  He tells her that he knows of certain activities she may have been embarking on without Butcher’s knowledge, and The Female stews in silence, crumpling the steel floor of the van with her bare fingertips.  G-Wiz and Bagpipe suit up and head to the main G-Men mansion to meet the main team, finding them all posing dramatically on the porch.  Godolkin looks Hughie over, and raises an eyebrow with practiced disdain (and the air of the pedophile.)  “He’s rather old…”

This issue proves that The Boys never wants you to know where it’s going next.  After all the sturm und drang of the Legend’s tale over the last few issues, and the tragedies explained within, to have a return to the comedy stylings is nice.  The double lives of Annie and Hughie are shaping up nicely, and the moment when that plotline busts open should be pretty devastating.  It’s like a Hayley Mills movie, only with violence, cursewords, and cunnilingus.  Overall, this issue was very well done, with Darick Robertson turning in his usual excellence in pencils, making every character unique and expressive, and aping certain 90’s X-Men artists with what feels like great glee.  The story progresses, with a few dark and ominous bits to offset the silliness of watching a superhero Bluto blow his lunch into an aquarium.  Overall, it’s a nice pacesetter for where we’re going, and an enjoyable Hughie-centric issue.  The Boys Twenty-Four earns a nicely done 4 out of 5 stars, and hopefully someone at DC/Wildstorm will look at this book and realize that just because a story has sensational (or even flat-out offensive) aspects doesn’t mean that it can’t be well-told.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Lifeisaglitch
    November 14, 2008 at 8:25 pm — Reply

    I couldnt agree more.

    Oh and Matthew didnt you read about Mallory in the previous issues?

  2. Frankie
    November 14, 2008 at 8:33 pm — Reply

    I only buy the trades and thus far “the boys” have not been disapointed….I believe it would make a pretty good series for an HBO show or FX!!!

  3. Frankie
    November 14, 2008 at 8:34 pm — Reply

    “have not disappointed me”

  4. November 14, 2008 at 11:08 pm — Reply

    I can’t remember right offhand if Mallory is Butcher’s former girl, The Legend’s daughter, or both?

  5. Propane
    November 15, 2008 at 12:32 am — Reply

    I like the story, but the pencils are really hit and miss in The Boys.

  6. Lifeisaglitch
    November 15, 2008 at 9:05 am — Reply

    Matt ya gotta go back think you might have skipped a few pages of truly gruesome story telling…
    Mallory is a last name and not a first name…Its a dude, and by all accounts the kind of character only Clint Eastwood could do justice to if the movie is ever made.

    Lieutenant Colonel Greg D. Mallory Founder of “The Boys”.

  7. mugsgame
    November 15, 2008 at 8:12 pm — Reply

    Yeah Lamplighter killed Mallory’s nieces and Mallory shot him in the head.

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