Or – “We Have Excremental Impact On The Rotating Blades!”
In this issue, Billy Butcher comes face-to-face with the Homelander in the Oval Office…
THE BOYS SIXTY-FIVE
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciler(s): Russ Braun/John McCrea/Keith Burns
Inker(s): Russ Braun/Keith Burns/John McCrea
Cover Artist: Darick Robertson
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Colorist: Tony Avina
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously, in The Boys: Tensions between the CIA’s independent superhuman monitoring task force (aka The Boys) and the superhuman members of The Seven (World’s Mightiest Super-Jerks) have reached an all-time high. The Homelander has mobilized all the supes into action, his plans still uncertain, but undoubtedly sinister. While Butcher heads to the White House with no real expectations of survival, Mother’s Milk has discovered an horrifying fact in the files of Vought-American. Will the leader of the Boys live long enough to find out the truth about the situation?
BE WARY OF SUPERMAN…
Well, any cover that features the main characters in a literal rain of blood probably isn’t one for the squeamish, I can tell you that. The issue opens with more of the hemorrhaging, as Butcher finds Homelander in the Oval Office, holding the severed head of the man once called Vic The Veep. “He did have brains after all,” remarks H.L dryly, before flinging the head at Butcher. I’ve read a lot of pretty gory stories, but this one is a real high point, as both men are literally standing in a pool of blood from pretty much the entire executive branch, while having it out once and for all. Ennis does a really good job with the tense confrontation, as Homelander makes Butcher even angrily by revealing that he DOESN’T EVEN REMEMBER the violation and death of Billy’s late wife, Becky. The story draws out the confrontation, with neither man fully ready to commit to a battle, and Butcher trying to get answers out of an eerily calm Homelander. At the same time, outside, Wee Hughie gets a call from Mother’s Milk that reveals an unknown truth about the heroes of the Seven, and specifically the man known as Black Noir.
…BUT NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE BATMAN.
Many times, I see twists of plot coming. It’s a regrettable side-effect of having spent the majority of my adult life in the presence of at least one comic book, but I was actually surprised when I started to realize the truth behind the Homelander’s bouts of madness and memory problems. While I still find myself missing Darick Robertson (Has anyone announced whether he’s permanently off this book? Last I heard, he was supposedly scheduled to return after Butcher’s miniseries ended…), John McCrea and Russ Braun handle the art side of things well, and the moment of the big reveal is particularly well-handled. The creators keep ratcheting up the tension, and when the big fight comes, it is both unexpected and more violent than I had even feared, and the sight of Homelander’s super-pals taking on the United States Air Force are frighteningly graphic in their “cannons-and-heat-vision” madness. Most of all, Butcher finally gets his hands on the man who killed his wife, and his actions (and unexpected emotional response to them) give me a whole new picture of the man…
THE VERDICT: SUITABLY BLOOD-SPLATTERED, AND GENUINELY SURPRISING.
As always, The Boys is not for those under the age of 18, those with a sensitive constitution, or an aversion to strong language, immoral predators or graphic depictions of violence. If you’re of age, and of the right mindset, this issue is a good’n, finally bringing to a head nearly six years of build-up. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in how quickly things went once the conflict actually begins, but upon re-reading, it’s clear that this is a calculated decision, and even though Butcher and Homelander’s issues have been at least temporarily tabled, there’s still a lot more to play out in this story. I believe that The Boys is expected to go another six issues or so, which means there are at least a few more brutal beatings and dismemberments in the wings. The Boys Sixty-Five is a more-or-less successful blowoff to the Butcher/Homelander feud, not quite reaching my highest expectations, but still hitting the landing, for 4 out of 5 stars overall. I also appreciate that they added an additional 8 pages to this book for one dollar more, rather than doubling the price as some of the other publishers have been doing lately…