Twelve years later, Wee Hughie has moved on… but the ghosts of The Boys aren’t gone just yet. Your Major Spoilers review of The Boys: Dear Becky #1 from Dynamite Entertainment awaits!
THE BOYS: DEAR BECKY #1
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Colorist: Tony Aviña
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Joe Rybandt
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 3, 2020
Previously in The Boys: Dear Becky: Twelve years after the events of The Boys, Hughie finds himself back home in Scotland where he intends to finally marry Annie in the company of friends and family. But the sudden appearance of a peculiar document sends our hero into a tailspin and threatens to bring the events of his nightmarish past crashing down on him in the worst possible way. There was one story about The Boys that Hughie never knew.
Now, whether he likes it or not, he’s going to.
TWELVE YEARS LATER
This story begins with Hughie lying on the floor in front of a toilet, shocked by a book that lies before him. We flashback to earlier in the night, as Hughie and his mate Bobbi hoist a few beers and talk about what has been going on hin their world. Auchterladle, Scotland is still a tiny village on the ocean and the possible superhuman apocalypse is a decade behind them, but somehow things aren’t yet back to normal. Hughie has been living in his parents’ home, ostensible preparing to sell it, with his fiancee Annie/Starlight, but much of the discussion is about the modern world. They discuss “woke culture”, Brexit, even namecheck the coronavirus before he returns home to find a parcel from an unknown sender. When he opens it, he finds a letter from the late Billy Butcher to his wife, Becky, ruminating about his life with The Boys and how she’s still with him in everything that he does…
…and that’s why he has to (metaphorically) kill her.
VERY MUCH AN ENNIS STORY
‘The Boys’ has always been about shocking readers, and this issue starting with a toilet is only the first salvo in service of that goal. While I sort of appreciate what the creators are going for here, setting the table for what the series is going to be and establishing how much like the real world Hughie’s world is, but the presence of Bobbi (a trans woman who is drawn as a broad-shouldered, lantern-jawed figure in a dress) is both distracting and offensive. There’s something off-putting about pretty much every scene in the issue, from a flashback where The Boys cut out the tongue of a Billy Batson analogue to the bartender’s “amusing” verbal abuse to Hughie’s several page explanation of what it’s like to be a straight, white male… I remember cringing at parts of the original series when it came out, but memory also says that it was never to this degree nor was it this often. Russ Braun’s art seems to be consciously emulating that of John McCrea, which means that the manly-man figures all look like comic-book archetypes, and everyone else is cartoonish and strange, and I just cannot handle the portrayal of Bobbi in this issue.
BOTTOM LINE: I DON’T THINK I’LL BE BACK FOR THE REST
Long story short, The Boys: Dear Becky #1 is living proof that some comics grow out of the zeitgeist of their times and just can’t be revisited in a later era, with a story that seems to want to address grievances with the world at large before it shows us a story-behind-the-story that I wanted more of, with a mocking, cynical tone that leaves me cold, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall. I am a fan of the original series, but I don’t feel a strong desire to find out what happens next. If I do finish this one, I think I’ll wait and see how it reads once its collected.
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THE BOYS: DEAR BECKY #1