Thursday, 30 July 2009

‘The Boys Vol.1: The Name of the Game’ – Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson


You know how it is sometimes, you’re in a comic shop and you really want to buy something. You just don’t know what you want...
Isn’t that the most infuriating feeling? Especially when there’s so much to choose from... I encountered this problem, a few weeks ago, and got round it by saying to my friends that what I was after was something completely different that I’d never read before. They gave me the first volume of ‘The Boys’ and once I’d stopped retching at the brutal scenes within that was it, I was hooked.

Not all superheroes are squeaky clean, most of them are out for whatever they can get and hide their dark side behind a veneer of heroism. They don’t care what happens to the little people, especially people like Wee Hughie whose girlfriend died after being caught up in a super powered brawl. He’s not after compensation; all that Wee Hughie wants is justice. Enter ‘The Boys’, a CIA backed team whose job is to make sure that superheroes do not get away with murder. Wee Hughie is about to find out that these guys are not above a little blackmail and intimidation, to keep the superhero community in line, and when the chips are down they can dish out a few beatings of their own...

Garth Ennis’ story and Darick Robertson’s artwork grabbed me by the eyeballs and refused to let go, even after I’d finished the book (I kept going back to re-read little bits here and there). This is a story that redefines the phrase ‘not pulling any punches’, casting it in a cold and bloody new light. ‘The Name of the Game’ isn’t a comic book for children or those who are easily offended. I’m neither of these and I loved it.

‘The Name of the Game’ is real edgy stuff (ably backed up by Robertson’s cool, crisp artwork) that asks the question of what superheroes would really do if they though they could get away with it. The answer is pretty much anything and ‘The Boys’ are the ultimate answer to the ensuing questions that arise. They’re not a lot better than the ‘heroes’ that they’re watching but they do what they do for all the right reasons... right? Once you’ve met Billy Butcher, The Frenchman and The Female you may not be so sure...

While ‘The Name of the Game’ is clearly setting things up for future storylines there’s still plenty of fun to be had with Wee Hughie’s induction into the team and the introductions to the other ‘Boys’. There are also interesting hints of a world that has gone along a slightly different path to ours, I want to find out what happened to the Brooklyn Bridge...
And if all that wasn’t enough for you, the final faceoff between ‘The Boys’ and ‘Teenage Kix’ (a teenage super group) is well worth the price of admission!

My wallet is about to take another battering with yet another series that I’ll be collecting but it will be worth it though... :o)

1 comment:

Mishel said...

I've had my eye on this for a while now. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Graeme. I'm really looking forward to picking up a copy =)

I'm also interested in this other gc titled The Pro which is by Garth Ennis too. It's about the world's first superhero prostitute.