Or – “A Mustelid Ate The President’s Face…”
It’s been a while since we checked in with our friends in the Flatiron Building, and the latest updates from Boys-ville are not encouraging: Hughie continues to waffle, Butcher’s control has been questioned, and Mother’s Milk has had a horrible revelation about his former family… We’re on the downhill slide, and war seems inevitable. The only question is: What will set it off?
Previously, in The Boys: The ongoing cold war between the Homelander and Billy Butcher has started to heat up in recent months, and whatever nefarious plan that the super-bastard has up his sleeve has been put in motion. Worse still, The President has died in a terrible mishap, leaving the barely-functional Vic The Veep to take office, for all intentions turning the Presidency wholly over to Vought-American. Butcher, for his part, has personally murdered one of Homelander’s lieutenants, and it’s become quite clear that war is inevitable. Will anyone survive the battle between supes and those who watch the watchmen?
NAKED ANNIE OVERDRIVE!
I’m still wondering when the hell (or even IF, by this point) Darick Robertson will be returning to interior duties on this title, as he has seemingly been gone for over a YEAR. Not that Russ Braun doesn’t do good work with the title, especially given that the first few pages of this issue feature Wee Hughie apologizing (AGAIN) to a very naked Annie/Starlight. The truth of their identities is out, as is the reality of what Annie did in order to get her place in the Seven (it involved a lot of kneeling.) Just as I started realizing how tired I am of Hughie’s constant waffling and overthinking, Annie says the same thing, and walks away, entreating her Scottish beau to “fix it.” Nicely handled, Veruca. Every interaction in this issue, from M.M. getting bad news to the mysterious Man From Vought-American having a nice seemingly-romantic dinner, has my hackles up. I know that something terrible is about to happen, but none of the characters seem to, and the more they lose themselves in their own problems (both petty and grandiose), the more I realize that there’s a disaster looming on the horizon.
WHAT THE HELL IS WITH THAT COVER?
One thing that adds to the tension (and also confusion) is the cover image this month, a very dark image that seems to be supers hovering over a crowd of people walking into an incinerator… I’m not sure what it means, but it conveys a palpable sense of dread and distaste with it, and that works to the issue’s favor. We meet another batch of half-assed superhumans (The Team Titanic, somewhat reminiscent of a group of former sidekicks in the DCU), and get a truly chilling moment of twisted charm from Butcher (“Last time anyone pissed me off, I stabbed the $&@$ to death, so what’s a bit o’ broken furniture between friends?”) that is more horrifying for those of us who WATCHED said murder not so long ago. The issue ends with a minor super-team busting in on The Boys headquarters under orders from the MfVA, and the dysfunctional five girding their loins for combat. (It’s going to be ugly, and not just in the usual ways.)
THE VERDICT: Effective Build-Up, Escalating Tension…
The Boys is a book that takes refuge in it’s audacity, it’s desire to “out-Preacher Preacher,” but unlike that previous Ennis joint, this is an ensemble cast. None of The Boys is currently in their right mind (though the jury is out on whether Frenchie ever has been) and as much as I feel like I want to break the tension with a little supe-scuffle, I’m certain that it’s a slippery slope to destruction. Garth Ennis has created an awesome little world here, and there is a sense of gleeful inevitability in it’s almost certain imminent destruction. The Boys #61 hits all the high notes, goes for the throat, and tops it all off with some truly enjoyable nudity, for a dead-solid 5 out of 5 stars overall. It’s an issue all about build-up, and the crescendo is being played for all it’s worth. Here’s hoping the finale lives up to it’s preliminaries…
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: What do you think is the over/under on any of the main cast surviving the climax of this story?