Starting with the sad news, comic book maestro Garth Ennis’ final issue of The Boys will be released in November. The comic isn’t being cancelled, it’s just coming to its natural conclusion. Issue #72 will bring an end to Ennis’ epic, exciting, disgusting, violent story about a gang of ruffians whose job it is to keep arrogant, perverse superheroes in line. The Boys is a wickedly twisted comic, combining gross-out humor with gritty, hard-hitting truths about the nature of power and accountability. I couldn’t recommend it more – if you’ve got the stomach for it.
The Boys has a wonderful history behind it. Originally commissioned as a Justice League story at DC Comics, the series was eventually rewritten with new characters and handed over to their Wildstorm publishing arm, which dealt with comics that were a bit grittier than the family friendly DC Universe. But then the top brass at DC was so disgusted with the content of The Boys that they cancelled it after six issues – only for Ennis to shop around and get picked up by Dynamite Entertainment, a rival publisher. Six years later, The Boys is one of Dynamite’s top-selling books, allowing Ennis the chance to conclude the story on his own terms.
I love The Boys. I don’t read it regularly though. I like to wait a few months/years until several issues and storylines have built up, then I grab some collected editions and read a lot at once. Seeing as how it’s one long story with a beginning, middle and end, I think it works well in larger readings instead of issue-by-issue. I haven’t caught up with The Boys in years, so I’m kind of excited to reach the end, then I can read the entire saga!
A little synopsis: The Boys is all about a man named Wee Hughie, a Scotsman living in a world of superheroes. Only instead of noble boy scouts like Superman and Spider-Man, the superheroes of The Boys are arrogant, conceited, misogynistic jerkasses. They’re still heroes, they still fight crime and defeat villains, but they are loathsome human beings who think the world revolves around them. Hence The Boys, a government-sponsored group of badasses who use their own super-powers to punish superheroes who go too far. Wee Hughie is recruited into The Boys and suddenly his life gets a lot more complicated, filled with all manner of insane, perverted, and sometimes lovely people.
There are two major ongoing stories. One is about the Homelander, the Superman-esque lead hero who begins to realize that, with his unstoppable power, he can do anything he damn well wants and nobody can stop him. The Boys have something to say about that. The other is about Wee Hughie falling in love with a pretty girl – who is secretly one of the superheroes he’s joined The Boys to stop!
Like I said, I cannot recommend this series enough. Garth Ennis’ writing is almost as good here as it is with his Punisher MAX stuff. The characters are fascinating and complex, the action is awesome and the humor is funny too – if you can stomach it. Seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more disgusting than The Boys. Copious amounts of bodily fluids, rape, misogyny, gerbils stuffed into asses; this stuff is insane. But it’s good. Damn good.
Speaking of good, the good news about The Boys is that it looks like the movie might be back on track. That is if you can believe a single Tweet from would-be director Adam McKay. A movie adaptation by Universal Studios had been in the works, but they eventually dropped the project. McKay now says that Paramount has picked up The Boys and they’re in development!
That may or may not be news worth celebrating. Everybody’s heard of ‘Development Hell’ in Hollywood, which The Boys has been stuck in for some time. There’s a chance that this movie will never get made. But just the possibility of seeing Simon Pegg suit up as Wee Hughie is worth mentioning. Keep your fingers crossed, everybody!