Boys

The Boys 72 (November 2012)

884852

And what does Ennis do for the finish? Pretty much exactly what I figured he’d do.

There’s nothing really new to it, except maybe some gesture of humanity from the corporate jerk, which makes one wonder why Ennis bothered. Darick Robertson comes back (with assists from Richard P. Clark). It makes sense, since Robertson created the series with Ennis, only Russ Braun’s been doing the book for ages….

Having Robertson back doesn’t remind of the good times. For better or worse, Ennis broke the comic to the point nothing could fix it. The new and improved Hughie is a laughable creation. I don’t think Ennis could get one natural scene out of him–first thing, he tries (and fails) to show the old Hughie shining through.

After not even faking caring for dozens of issues, Ennis attempts to put on a sincere face. It doesn’t work… but could be worse.

CREDITS

You Found Me; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, Darick Robertson and Richard P. Clark; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

About these ads

The Boys 71 (October 2012)

881058

For the last regular issue–there’s one more, but this one ends the plot line of the the final arc at least–Ennis does rather well. He doesn’t recover the series, however. He turns in almost a standalone. One wouldn’t have to read the previous thirty or forty issues to still get a good experience.

One definitely wouldn’t have to read all the ancillary series, even though Ennis directly refers to many of them.

It’s a talking heads issue, a return to the good old days of Hughie and Butcher shooting the shit. And this time, Braun does really well with the scenery.

Unfortunately, a lot of the dialogue has to do with the silly stuff Ennis was done with The Boys. It reminds the reader the characters were deeper without Ennis trying too hard than when he pushes too hard.

It doesn’t right the course, but it’s definitely good.

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 70 (September 2012)

888391

It’s a fast issue. Hughie gets to meet some mentioned, but never seen characters. Well, let’s just say Ennis should have gone the Vera and Maris route because doing a Lovecraft thing? Not the best scene. He can’t even make it funny when he tries.

Ennis resolves two mysteries the series never needed solving. Then he kicks off an ending somewhat akin to the one in Preacher. He has an excuse for it, sure, but it’s the same thing. Only Braun doesn’t go in enough for the iconic scenery to make it work.

There’s also a complete misfire of a 9/11 reference, which doesn’t sit particularly well. Ennis isn’t trying anything with The Boys, something I feared back when it became clear where he was going with things. Even worse than not trying–I just realized he borrows two things from Preacher–he’s not even trying to be witty.

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Part Five; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 69 (August 2012)

872968

I’d say another problem with Ennis’s big twist is how many twists does he really need for this comic book. He’s about to hit seventy issues–I’m not going to do the math, but his readers have dropped north of two hundred bucks on this series (especially since it’s so heavy on continuity–no jumping on late)… Isn’t that investment worth something from the writer besides three or four twists in the grand finale?

Especially when the twists don’t amount to anything. Ennis is at least playing this “big” twist out through the finale arc. The last big twist got resolved in an issue or two.

Worse yet, he doesn’t seem to know how to write his villain. He turns him into a Bond villain and not a very good one.

It’s like he never wanted anyone to read this series a second time through. It’s a perplexing cop out.

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Part Four; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 68 (July 2012)

871046

I don’t think I’ve ever quite read something like what Ennis is doing with The Boys. He’s making the reader feel bad about liking the comic. It’s a crazy thing, full of hostility.

There’s also some other stuff. Some good stuff. Well, the one good moment where the Female finally talks. It’s an awesome moment, really subdued. Ennis delivers that moment. The crazy stuff with the cliffhanger? Not so much.

But he’s operating on two levels simultaneously. He’s rewarding the reader for his or her patience while also chastising him or her for liking the characters. It’ll be interesting to see where he takes it. Maybe not good or even engaging, but interesting.

The opening, full of exposition as Hughie reveals the plans he’s discovered–but Mother’s Milk stays oddly quiet as to why he’s on board with Hughie–is a mess though. Ennis just can’t hide his boredom anymore.

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Part Three; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 67 (June 2012)

869930

The biggest surprise this issue–and the issue has three or four surprises, maybe five–has to be Ennis deciding to deport the Boys. Except Mother’s Milk. It’s a throwaway little bit, intended to show how Hughie is becoming more like Butcher, but it’s an unexpected complication.

The other surprises? While Ennis hasn’t been foreshadowing them directly, he’s been hinting at them for quite some time. On one hand, he might be getting ambitious again with where he’s going to take the series for its conclusion. On the other, it’s a lot of sensationalism–over and over and over again this issue–and Ennis has already burned out the series’s ability to shock.

Strangely enough, when he’s showing the characters in such distress–previously likable characters–he can’t create concern for them. He’s let the series get too cynical, too harsh, for anyone to register as a human being anymore.

D+ 

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 66 (May 2012)

864279

Ennis opens with the most exciting thing in the issue–only he doesn’t intimate there’s not going to be anything else exciting in the issue. He also doesn’t explain the scene. He just lets it play out, then goes back to the fallout from the previous arc.

The Boys sort of break up this issue. They take a break, with Butcher messing around with everyone–mostly Hughie–and then Hughie has another big scene with Annie.

There’s also the corporate stuff, but it’s unclear if Ennis is doing it to show the resilient evil of corporate America or if it’s a subplot he’s going to bring in. Maybe it doesn’t matter.

This arc is set some time–a month, maybe more–after the previous issue. It already feels like a different comic. Instead of a last issue, Ennis is doing a last arc as postscript.

There’s very nice Braun art.

CREDITS

The Bloody Doors Off, Part One; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 65 (April 2012)

861673

And Ennis comes up with a huge surprise reveal–before teasing a surprise in the next issue. He doesn’t go as far with it as he could; he basically does a Brubaker. He reveals something in the characters’ history to change everything they knew and so on. He doesn’t do a full Brubaker though. I was worried he’d go too far… instead, he goes just far enough. It’s an awesome twist.

It just doesn’t make for an awesome finish. Seeing the Air Force take out the superheroes probably ought to be cooler but it’s just an expository moment. Ennis doesn’t worry about giving the reader anything to care about. It’s an odd misstep, given his experience writing war comics.

But the finish, with Butcher, isn’t particularly good either. It’s a little bit of too much in one issue and too many tricks in one issue.

Still, the big twist rocks.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, Russ Braun, John McCrea and Keith Burns; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 64 (March 2012)

857450

There’s so much talking. Ennis just has Butcher and Hughie standing around talking for what seems like six pages. They’re waiting at the White House for the big showdown, only there’s a secret they don’t realize–Black Noir is up to something and no one knows about it except Mother’s Milk….

And he decides to wait until next issue to tell Hughie. Why? For drama.

It’s an enjoyable issue, especially with the Voight guy giving the Homelander a speech. The speech sort of implies the superheroes are disappointing because they never do attain the comic book ideal. It’s the closest Ennis has ever gotten to anyone hoping for such a thing in this series. It’s out of place, but a good moment.

There’s some other stuff–all the dirt on the superheroes gets out–but really it’s just Ennis getting ready for the big finale.

Like I said, enjoyable stuff.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part Five; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 63 (February 2013)

852146

Even though Braun gets loose every other page (or maybe even panel) and Ennis’s big finish for Hughie and A-Train flops, the issue works. Things are finally coming to a close and Ennis is working at a breakneck speed. There are lots of callbacks to better issues, whether it’s the stuff between Frenchie and the Female or Maeve and Annie–Ennis knows what he’s doing. He’s going for maximum impact as efficiently as possible.

Lots of little things happen in the issue, with the big thing–the superheroes attacking the Pentagon–not even getting real page time. Ennis instead focuses on his scenes. The fight scene with the Titans stand-ins is sadly underwhelming for the most part and the aforementioned A-Train resolution flops. Annie probably gets the best scene.

Ennis keeps promising something great in the next issue but doesn’t deliver.

This one’s shallow, but moderately amusing.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part Four; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 62 (January 2012)

848274

I don’t know what’s going on with Braun’s art, but he gets positively cartoony at times this issue. It’s like he’s too enthusiastic with Ennis’s humorous moments, which mostly involve Butcher making a wisecrack.

With Ennis trying to wind everything up, he’s dialed certain things back on The Boys. It looks a lot like the early issues, but he’s no longer reminding the reader of the characters’ journeys. If he keeps going this way, the series could have been twenty or thirty issues, not sixty plus.

It’s most relevant with how he handles Hughie. Hughie tells two big secrets and both remind of the old Hughie, not the one with all the profound emotional issues. Ennis is going for the smile and the laugh.

It makes the comic more entertaining and it insulates Ennis from failure. It just doesn’t make the comic better… but maybe Ennis was always faking ambition.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part Three; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 61 (December 2011)

848273

The Boys is so far off the rails, it’s hard to even get excited about a decent issue anymore. And this issue’s decent. It’s not good or great, but it’s got a couple funny moments and Ennis doesn’t shortchange Mother’s Milk entirely–just partially.

And there’s a funny bit where Ennis makes fun of the Teen Titans.

But the good moments just gloss over the bad ones and even Ennis seems to notice he’s on repeat. Hughie wants to stop being violent again, which Butcher points out is his favorite thing to say. There’s yet another scene with Annie about how Hughie isn’t comfortable with her. Ennis isn’t even pretending he’s not repeating Hughie scenes.

Sadly, there’s no point to it. Ennis isn’t making a statement about the lack of possibility for fictional characters, he just doesn’t have anything else to do with Hughie.

Kind of like the comic itself.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 60 (November 2011)

848272

Once again, it’s very hard to determine whether Ennis had these plans for The Boys all along or if he rushed things along with contrivances.

Because it sure feels like he’s rushing things along.

Most of the issue is spent with the President, who’s sort of been a character but not one to run the major sequence in an issue. It’s even been a while since Vic the Veep showed up; Ennis mentions him a lot (hence the memorable name), but it’s definitely been a while.

They’re back now, as Ennis starts moving towards the end. He also does a cliffhanger with a reference to some lame nineties series from Image. At least I think it’s an Image series–cybernetic superheroes or something. Ennis isn’t taking much pleasure out of the cameos. He always treated Boys as a black comedy at the start… but not anymore.

Still, could be worse.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part One; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker 6 (December 2011)

853292

Ennis ends the series, his summing up of Butcher, with a quote from Unforgiven. He also includes a reference to himself in the comic, apparently when he was trying to get work at the superhero companies back in the eighties.

Anyway, ending on a quote from Unforgiven just shows how little Ennis cares about this comic. I knew he didn’t care when he totally skipped over a Boys version of Spider-Man, which would have been awesome… at least if Ennis had been doing it towards the beginning of the run, before he’d lost interest.

What’s so amazing about the quote–I had other complaints, but it really overshadows them–is how it forces a comparison between the work Ennis has done and the work the movie’s done. And Ennis hasn’t done any work.

It’s easily the lamest thing I’ve ever seen him do. It’s stunningly incompetent, desperate and unprofessional.

CREDITS

Everyone of You Sons of Bitches; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.