Or – “How Can They Trump Last Issue’s Antics?”

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So, what would be more over-the-top than last issue’s hijinks, including group sex, homoerotic trysts, and all manner of pruriency?  How about some drugs to go with our sex and violence?  Maybe even a government official in a compromising situation?  Or how about the whole thing getting even more complicated than before, thanks to Vought-American interference?

Previously, on The Boys – Herogasm:  Every summer, like clockwork, all the heroes have to team up, combining forces to stop a BH1.jpgseemingly unstoppable foe.  Secret wars, infinite crises, one more days, no man’s lands, long hot summers, ages of apocalypse, acts of vengeance, all are laid low by the combined might of the supers.  Or, at least so goes the cover story.  The reality is that the costumed protectors all ship off together, all right, but their summer crossover is more hedonism than heroism.  Every summer, all the capes and masks head off to a secret compound where they ingest things, insert other things, and basically use one another for whatever twisted urges enter their minds.  This corporate sponsored orgy is the government’s way of keeping the super-powerful talent happy, making sure that their mutant armies are pliable for whatever bastardry they need them for.  This year, however, Billy Butcher and his secret CIA squad (codename: The Boys) are on hand to witness the whole extravaganza, for purposes that remain to be unseen.  And the mysterious corporate man from Vought-American has his eye on the whole shebang as well, seemingly preparing for something…

We open with The Homelander (a Superman-analogue) in mid-flight, buck naked and post-coital.  A passing airliner catches sight of them, and the pilots are rewarded with a blast of heat-vision.  We cut back to the Herogasm, already in progress, as two ladies of the night discuss the wear and tear that sleeping with superhumans can take on your body.  When one of them realizes that she’s injured, she tries to slip away, only to be interrupted by the arrival of the Vice-President of the United States…  who only wants to recieve oral gratification.  The Veep immediately makes his intentions known by groping one of the female superheroes openly, while his handlers discuss what a great idea bringing him here was.  Seems that he loves supers, he loves hummers, it’s a natural combination.  The Homelander drops out of the clouds, more than a little bit angry to see an outsider infiltrating his normally-tights-only bacchanal.  The Man From V/A tells him that it’s a political move, and the Homelander says he understands.  “You don’t know how he feels,” corrects our corporate shill, “because you have  sizable IQ, and his is barely in double digits.  Which is what I’m going to be up against when I tell him he’ll be president within the year.”  Homelander is stunned to hear this news, and the underlying implication that Vought-American is going to be taking out the commander-in-chief…

Meanwhile, Jack From Jupiter and A-Train (analogues of the Martian Manhunter and The Flash, respectively) find that the real fun of Herogasm isn’t the girls, but the drugs.  They sneak into a hidden basement room to join a group of supes who are blazing up on (and this disgusted even me) dried feotus.  Gyaah.  Jack explains that their high is small potatoes, and that HIS stuff is special cut with…  um…  how can I put this gently?   His drugs are cut with the “personal lubricants” of Queen Maeve (a Wonder Woman analogue.)  That’s just gross.  Back at the ongoing sluttery, the “heroes” have noticed the presence of an outsider, and are up in arms about it all, as the members of Payback (who bear not a small resemblance to The Avengers) want to know what they get out of this.  Corporate guy (who really needs a name, by the way) promises that they could get a higher profile by helping him out with a little issue he’s having…  an issue that sounds remarkably like Butcher and company.   A-Train and Jack From Jupiter bond together, wasted out of their mind, about all the women they can’t have, notably Queen Maeve and Starlight (secretly Wee Hughie’s girlfriend Annie.)  The aformentioned Annie isn’t having her way with other capes at the retreat, instead choosing to call Hughie up and have phone sex with him.  The issue closes with the Boys in position, ready to go and pick up their target: The Vice-President.

First of all, let me say that Major Spoilers does NOT condone the use of illegal and/or disgusting substances, nor the utilization of orgies to get at your political enemies, though we do not, in theory, have a problem with multiple partners within the boundaries of a healthy consenting adult relationship.  (Or, maybe that’s just Matthew.  Bygones…)  However, this issue seems to have gone a lot further into the realm of shock and awe than the previous, even as the plot makes it’s first step forward.  If you are an adult, and you don’t have a problem watching implied sex and drug use, this issue has several things going for it.  John McCrea’s art is interesting, and the fact that it’s not photo-realistic does help to offset some of the creep-factor of half-naked superheroes.  Garth Ennis takes some chances with his script, and while it doesn’t ever really capsize, there seems to be a palpable sense of “How do we top last time?”  The balance comes out a little bit off-kilter, and there are some very uncomfortable sequences in these pages that tend to bring my grade down a bit, but The Boys: Herogasm #2 earns a not-bad 2.5 out of 5 stars overall.  There’s nothing sexy about these naked rutting people, but I kind of get the feeling that may be the point of it all…

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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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9 Comments

  1. ~wyntermute~
    June 25, 2009 at 4:24 pm — Reply

    I’m an adult, and I, um…. Don’t condone drug use, but I have no, shall we say “EXPLICIT” objections to people doing what they want with their bodies… And, like, that stuff with the dried ick and the lubricated yuck? Yeah, BLARRRRRRRRRRRRRFFFFFF~! Hurkk!! Yerrrrg! That was when I quit “trying” this series. :( Like, I was actually giving the “Boysverse” the ol’ college try with this mini, cuz I occasionally enjoy the “cheesecake” art this was going to be so clearly full of. I gotta step back now, just because my brain cannot handle it. I would still like to say, however, that this is not “BAD”. I just do not have the fortitude for it. Buyer be warned! :)

  2. June 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm — Reply

    The dried ick and the lubricated yuck threw me, too, and I’m a fan of The Boys from day one. It is NOT for the squeamish, and there are certain moments that I just kind of… gloss over as I read it, in the hopes that I can forgive the gore, sex, and gross-outs.

    So far, I’m okay, but this issue was the closest I’ve come to opting out thus far.

  3. hermit
    June 25, 2009 at 9:53 pm — Reply

    yeah, Ennis is kicking it up a notch. i can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

    i agree, it’s not as good as issue 1. i guess it’ll all make sense when the series is done.

  4. June 26, 2009 at 10:34 am — Reply

    This sounds like a blast! I’m on on volume two of The Boys so I have to catch up first!

  5. Bloodmage
    July 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm — Reply

    The drug scenes didn’t really bother me at all, at this point. Honestly, after the “meat” in Preacher, I don’t think Ennis can ever do anything to make me uncomfortable again. I’m enjoying Herogasm as well as the regular Boys series, and I hope Ennis keeps it up.

  6. Maven
    July 12, 2009 at 11:20 am — Reply

    Let’s say you’re selling Turd Sandwiches. Since the only people you’ll attract are people who LIKE Turd Sandwiches, there’s almost no point in trying to critique the Turd Sandwiches that are being sold. Still, I’d like to make a few points: there’s nothing “adult” about Herogasm. It is, conversely, just about the most juvenile thing I’ve ever read. Again, I realize that I’m talking to an audience who likes Turd Sandwiches, but seriously: I get the feeling that both Ennis and his intended audience are 14-year-old virgins. Adults don’t obsess over sex this much, because we’ve actually HAD sex. Furthermore, Ennis is just trying too hard at this point. By the time you hit the “dead baby smoking” scene, it’s pretty obvious that he’s completely run out of ideas, and is now just streaming together random “offensive” ideas into a giant mush of silliness.

    • July 12, 2009 at 9:30 pm — Reply

      Let’s say you’re selling Turd Sandwiches. Since the only people you’ll attract are people who LIKE Turd Sandwiches, there’s almost no point in trying to critique the Turd Sandwiches that are being sold.

      I wholeheartedly disagree with this assessment, as it implies a unified standard of quality, and is also very condescending to the creators, the readers, and any potential reviewers of The Boys. Everyone has the right to write off whatever media they want as inessential or inferior, but don’t expect me to read or review from that perspective… I make no pretense of journalism here, but even a short recap/review of a comic deserves an open mind.

      And if this is the most juvenile thing you’ve ever read, then you must be new here. :)

  7. Tony
    August 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm — Reply

    In the absence of skill or ideas, a writer can always appeal to the lowest common denominator. And, the “Artist” gets to draw dirty pictures! Pure crap, no two ways about it.

  8. Lucifer Prometheus
    November 2, 2009 at 8:15 am — Reply

    Kinda Gross? Sure. Juvenile? You betcha! It’s also pretty damn funny. It’s called “Herogasm,” people- it does EXACTLY what it says on the box. I like my painfully serious mature-as-all-fuck artsy-fartsy comics as much as the next humorless artfucker, but I can appreciate stuff like this too. I’ve always thought of Ennis as Alan Moore’s silly kid brother, and I have to say- “Herogasm” and “The Boys” in general are true to motherfucking form. Ennis gives us a decent deconstruction of power in modern western society, and his thoughts on the implications that this has for super-powered amateurs in tights fighting for “the American Way” are worth noting. If there’s a semen-soaked turd floating in the middle of it, then all the better. Poop is funny, and no one’s asking you to eat it.

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