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The Boys (Collected Volumes) #1

The Boys, Volume 1: The Name of the Game

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THIS IS GOING TO HURT! In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone's got to make sure the "supes" don't get out of line. And someone will. Billy Butcher, Wee Hughie, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female are The Boys: A CIA backed team of very dangerous people, each one dedicated to the struggle against the most dangerous force on Earth-superpower. Some superheores have to be watched. Some have to be controlled. And some of them-sometimes-need to be taken out of the picture That's when you call in THE BOYS

152 pages, Paperback

First published March 28, 2007

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About the author

Garth Ennis

2,767 books2,894 followers
Ennis began his comic-writing career in 1989 with the series Troubled Souls. Appearing in the short-lived but critically-acclaimed British anthology Crisis and illustrated by McCrea, it told the story of a young, apolitical Protestant man caught up by fate in the violence of the Irish 'Troubles'. It spawned a sequel, For a Few Troubles More, a broad Belfast-based comedy featuring two supporting characters from Troubled Souls, Dougie and Ivor, who would later get their own American comics series, Dicks, from Caliber in 1997, and several follow-ups from Avatar.

Another series for Crisis was True Faith, a religious satire inspired by his schooldays, this time drawn by Warren Pleece. Ennis shortly after began to write for Crisis' parent publication, 2000 AD. He quickly graduated on to the title's flagship character, Judge Dredd, taking over from original creator John Wagner for a period of several years.

Ennis' first work on an American comic came in 1991 when he took over DC Comics's horror title Hellblazer, which he wrote until 1994, and for which he currently holds the title for most issues written. Steve Dillon became the regular artist during the second half of Ennis's run.

Ennis' landmark work to date is the 66-issue epic Preacher, which he co-created with artist Steve Dillon. Running from 1995 to 2000, it was a tale of a preacher with supernatural powers, searching (literally) for God who has abandoned his creation.

While Preacher was running, Ennis began a series set in the DC universe called Hitman. Despite being lower profile than Preacher, Hitman ran for 60 issues (plus specials) from 1996 to 2001, veering wildly from violent action to humour to an examination of male friendship under fire.

Other comic projects Ennis wrote during this time period include Goddess, Bloody Mary, Unknown Soldier, and Pride & Joy, all for DC/Vertigo, as well as origin stories for The Darkness for Image Comics and Shadowman for Valiant Comics.

After the end of Hitman, Ennis was lured to Marvel Comics with the promise from Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada that he could write The Punisher as long as he cared to. Instead of largely comical tone of these issues, he decided to make a much more serious series, re-launched under Marvel's MAX imprint.

In 2001 he briefly returned to UK comics to write the epic Helter Skelter for Judge Dredd.

Other comics Ennis has written include War Story (with various artists) for DC; The Pro for Image Comics; The Authority for Wildstorm; Just a Pilgrim for Black Bull Press, and 303, Chronicles of Wormwood (a six issue mini-series about the Antichrist), and a western comic book, Streets of Glory for Avatar Press.

In 2008 Ennis ended his five-year run on Punisher MAX to debut a new Marvel title, War Is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle.

In June 2008, at Wizard World, Philadelphia, Ennis announced several new projects, including a metaseries of war comics called Battlefields from Dynamite made up of mini-series including Night Witches, Dear Billy and Tankies, another Chronicles of Wormwood mini-series and Crossed both at Avatar, a six-issue miniseries about Butcher (from The Boys) and a Punisher project reuniting him with artist Steve Dillon (subsequently specified to be a weekly mini-series entitled Punisher: War Zone, to be released concurrently with the film of the same name).

Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garth_Ennis

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,176 reviews
Profile Image for Adam.
253 reviews207 followers
June 11, 2010
My friend Max coined a word. "Borfs." Since "nerd" has slowly been drained of most of its negative connotations and become a synonym for "obsessive and knowledgeable" (e.g., "Ask my friend about that band, he's a total music nerd"), we need a new word to describe a particular kind of person. He thought of this word while watching The Matrix, as he was wondering what kind of person thinks good guys wearing dark glasses and leather gunfighting bad guys in suits is cool. Borfs ... that's who.

Borfs are internet tough guys who love "cool" violence and can only relate to a female character in a movie or comic book if she's wearing black leather high-heeled boots and carrying an Uzi. A borf has never gotten into a fight on the street, but is confident he can kick anyone's ass because he studies karate and does a lot of no-contact sparring. Borfs also have no sense of humor. Sure, they may laugh at homophobic jokes, but they have absolutely zero sense of humor about their black belt in karate, their polarized Oakleys, their gym bag with a Chinese dragon on it, the literary merits of Frank Miller, or their collection of ninja throwing stars.

Garth Ennis's series The Boys seems tailor-made for borfs. The titular "boys" are a small band of ass-kickers who are a self-appointed watchdog agency who keep tabs on superheroes. This isn't a bad setup, but Ennis has proven that the more freedom he has (for instance, when The Punisher became a MAX title instead of a Marvel Knights title), the worse he is. He never met an exploding head or hamster up the ass that he didn't like. And the problem with Ennis is that his writing is never quite good enough or funny enough to be as hateful as it is. The Boys is chock-full of bloody violence and sexual shaming of women and homosexuals, and I felt dirty after reading it.

As far as satires of superheroes go, The Boys is as sophisticated a piece of iconoclasm as a schoolboy's crude drawing of Superman sodomizing Wonder Woman. In Ennis's world, superheroes are portrayed as venal, homicidal, useless at saving people, and sexually deviant to a man. The problem with this is it isn't specific to superheroes. Ennis's conceit is that they act like heroes but are really rapists and bullies in private, but he hasn't thought it out beyond depictions of violent orgies. This is a "critique" that could just as easily have been applied to police officers, schoolteachers, professional athletes, or community theater actors, and it would have about as much resonance.

Worst of all, the protagonists are nearly as nasty and unlikable as the villains. The leader of the Boys, Billy Butcher, is a Yank-hating Brit who wears all black, including a leather coat and the requisite Doc Martens. (See definition of "borf" above.) There's also nothing interesting and clever about the way they take down superheroes. There's a magic potion they take that makes them just as strong as superheroes, so they can kill them with their bare hands. Borfs, of course, will take umbrage at my description of this substance as a "magic potion," and will be happy to explain its pseudoscientific properties. But you know what, borfs? It's still a magic potion, and it's fucking stupid.
Profile Image for John Wiswell.
Author 39 books404 followers
May 28, 2012
Apparently Garth Ennis hates superheroes and decided to show it in this comic book about a bunch of people dressed in black who cuss a lot and torment lame caricatures of superheroes. This is the kind of weakly-written tripe made for teenagers who still think swearing and explosions of blood are the height of artistic achievement.

Oh, oh but wait! The heroes are jerks! In fact they're almost entirely depicted as violent degenerates or greedy elitists who don't care about the people they serve - all with an unhealthy dose of tired, cynical humor. Anything they do will be run down, either by Ennis playing God and forcing them to be insipid, or Ennis using one of his protagonists as a hand-puppet to deride or one-up them. The heroes are jerks, the guys in black are cool, and whenever the guys in black cross the heroes the guys in black will a) embarrass them or b) maul them.

This volume features about four pages of character development to every twenty pages of exposition (including exposition on the supposed character development), which in turn was in proportion to fifty pages of woefully unfunny violence and "comics parody." And no, the six times that the Simon Pegg-lookalike was shocked and traumatized do not count as character development.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,820 followers
December 8, 2019
3 stars at times

4 at others

Hoping for 4+ star content in future volumes



This will be a tough one to rate. The story is entertaining and creative. The content is edgy, extreme, and sometimes might make you feel like it has gone a bit to far. I think my Goodreads friend L. McCoy said it best (Click for review): “This book tries a bit too hard with the NSFW content” I don’t mind NSFW content, and I kind of expect it with the more edgy comic publishers (Dynamite, Image, etc.) - in fact, sometimes it feels like the artists can’t wait to try drawing some naked breasts. In the case of The Boys, NSFW content is definitely not subtle and is definitely in your face (and, if you read this you will realize that pun is fully intended). So, unless you are completely okay with sexual content, lewd language, and inappropriate scenarios, you can feel free to avoid adding this to your TBR

NOTE: Things get pretty sketchy after the frame below . . .



But, if you are okay with this sort of content (or can look past it) this book is pretty entertaining. And, as I mentioned, is very creative. It approaches the superhero genre in the darkest way I have seen. While it does use a somewhat more common superhero theme – i.e. superheroes as fallible humans when not on the pedestal society puts them on (other examples – Watchmen and Marissa Meyer’s Renegades Series, Deadpool), this one takes it to the point of superheroes being, more often than not, truly deplorable behind their cape. And, in response, an equally questionable crew is called in to do something about it.



I did not really think the art was all that great – not that I could do any better, but I do read graphic novels hoping for some decent imagery. My biggest complaint is that the character appearances were not really consistent throughout the book. From one frame to the next the faces would look very different. In many cases I had to look at their clothing to keep them straight. Maybe some aren’t bothered by this or maybe didn’t even notice, but I was a bit frustrated with it by the end.



I am going to settle in at 3.5 stars on this one. Enjoyed the story enough that I will keep going, but I hope that the art and NSFW content starts to flow a little more smoothly with the rest of the story. But, since this story seems to be all about the shock, it may continue to be crazy overall!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews853 followers
April 17, 2022
In a corporate financed and owned superhero dominated America only two people really stand in their way - one of them is the President of the United States, the other is CIA Black Ops specialist Billy Butcher. This volume introduces Butcher and his team 'The Boys', the major supergroup 'The Seven' and the lay of the political climate. An Ennis' tour de force of dark violence, near-explicit sex and fucking foul language, all underlined with some great dark humour. You might've watched the quite good TV show, well this is better!

Lots of possible foreshadowing, slow reveal of backgrounds and rationales and only a hint of the darkness at the heart of corporate backed superheroes and their superiors. A gorgeous 9.5 out of 12.

2019 read; 2017 read
Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 89 books232k followers
February 6, 2013
Having just finished the recently-released conclusion of this series. I think it's safe to say that this is my favorite work by Garth Ennis to date.

The start of the series is quick and sharp. It wastes no time, and brings you into the story without a lot of tedious backstory.

(Since this series is 12 trades long, I'm going to spread my thoughts about the story over reviews of several of the books, rather than write one massive rambly review.)

Profile Image for mark monday.
1,643 reviews5,092 followers
July 23, 2016
somewhere in the first third, one character warns another to watch out for the "flood of blood-flecked semen" that he would probably see in his new tenement digs. I read that phrase, cringed, and then realized that at some point I'd probably be shown that image. golly gee, I was right! The Boys is that kind of graphic novel and Ennis & Robertson are that kind of writer & artist. that repulsive image is a pretty good representation of the entire escapade.

synopsis: dangerous superheroes live above the law; the CIA funds a secret group known as 'The Boys' to keep them in line.

Sesana says in her review "I don't believe that humans are all inherently evil, which seems to be his basic premise here. So naturally superheroes are all depraved monsters, because they can be. It's about as subtle as a sledgehammer"... and I can't fault that point. after reading Ennis' Crossed and now this, it is clear that he thinks humans are mainly repellent cockroaches. which is not exactly my favorite perspective in a writer.

but I still had a fun time reading this degrade-athon. Ennis is clever and he has clear skill in laying out an intriguing storyline with plenty of mysteries to unravel. Robertson is a talented artist (although I thought using Simon Pegg and Spider Jerusalem as character types was lazy and distracting.)

have you watched Starz's trashy and fascinating series Spartacus? I'm ashamed to admit that this is the second review in a row where I've mentioned it. the show is appealing for a lot of different reasons, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that a big part of why I enjoyed it was the vivid, wall-to-wall sex and violence. sorry but I love that sort of shit. and so what made The Boys compelling to me was not the tired concept of heroes who do wrong, Who Watches The Watchmen, etc etc. Ennis may think he is saying interesting things about hero archetypes while challenging various tropes and paradigms but - sorry Anthony - he's not. he's a smart but dirty-minded guy who wants to illustrate how dirty the world can be, and he does it in the most grindingly obvious, nastily graphic way possible. he loves that shit. so we have a protagonist who engages in degrading hate-sex with a colleague. a clandestine group that doesn't fight evil - they lurk in shadows, snap dirty photos, blackmail, and then congratulate themselves. macho teen superheroes who steal drugs and engage in marathon rounds of sportsex with prostitutes - that is when they aren't fucking each other. a Justice League that inducts their newest member (a starry-eyed young christian named Starlight) by insisting she dole out blowjobs. a pool of blood-flecked semen oozing under a door, into your room. yep, that's this comic in a nutshell. and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment.

 photo boys72-1-1345138716_zpsf351bfb9.jpg

__________

Super Template Action!

* Superman: Homelander (an easy joke, but still clever)
* Batman: Black Noir (so bad that it is also pretty clever)
* Wonder Woman: Queen Maeve
* The Flash: A-Train
* Aquaman: The Deep
* Martian Manhunter: Jack from Jupiter
Profile Image for Dan.
14 reviews10 followers
December 18, 2010
I loved Preacher. Violent boy's own fantasy with a point and a moral heart. So I went into The Boys expecting it to be pretty brutal. And it is. And it's very well done pulp fiction - the heroes are conflicted and unpleasant, the villains are odious and corrupt, and the heroes inflict a world of violent hurt on the villains in superlative fashion. Well done!

However, I personally couldn't get over the fact that it's so anti-women. There's exactly one pleasant female in the whole thing, and she dies horribly within three pages of her introduction. The amount of rape, violent sex, and misogyny in here is absolutely extraordinary. I'm prepared to accept that this is Ennis showing exactly how horrible his villains are, but it was too much for me.

For those with stronger stomachs, there's a lot to like, in a violent revenge fantasy sort of way. However, as much as I want to see the villains get their eventual violent comeuppance, I've decided that the best way to beat misogynists is to not pay money to read more stories where women get treated terribly.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
September 27, 2020
So I'm here because of the television show - it introduced this great series to me.

And I can honestly say, I've not seen this level of subversion in a comic since Watchman. And, dare I say this also, it has the potential to be greater than that masterpiece if it develops in the right way.

I have a feeling this is going to get real interesting.
Profile Image for Yeferzon Zapata.
106 reviews23 followers
June 26, 2022
Tentado por la calidad de la serie de Amazon prime. Llegué hasta aquí. El primer volumen de The boys.
Esta historia trata de un universo donde los superhéroes son una corporación de cretinos, que pasan por encima de los ciudadanos tratando de hacer que se vea como algo normal y que solo quieren mantener el bien. Pero en realidad son una empresa que solo les interesa las ganancias en marketing y su estatus social.
Pero, dentro de esto, nos encontramos con Los muchachos, comandados por Butcher, un tipo que cree que los supers deberían tener un límite, y él se los va a imponer.
A primera instancia podemos decir que Butcher es igual de cretino que los supers, sin embargo, a medida que avanza la historia conocemos sus motivaciones y por qué se comporta de esta manera, pude llegar a entenderlo, no tanto justificarlo, pero veremos cómo se va desarrollando este personaje.
Otro personaje destacable es Hughie, un tipo que fue víctima de uno de estos superhéroes, y el cual siempre quiere hacer el bien, sin embargo, ciertas circunstancias hacen que se plantee si ser correcto en todos los casos es bueno para él.
DE M.M, Frenchie y Female no se nos dio mucha información, pero confío que en los siguientes tomos sabremos más de ellos.
Nos encontramos con escenas explicitas, tanto sexuales como de violencia, que nos indican que el autor no le importó ser cancelado, sino que quería mostrar un universo más realista a Marvel y DC, porque estoy seguro que si los superhéroes fueran reales, serían como se describen en esta historia.
Veremos que tumbo toma esta historia, pero creo que cada vez se va a poner más violenta y tétrica.
Profile Image for Mike.
1,473 reviews134 followers
August 29, 2011
Next to the super-earnest DC comics I've just been slogging through in an effort to branch out of my Marvel-and-indie bias, this Boys book knocks my socks off! Somehow I've forgotten how laugh-out loud funny, vile and imaginative Ennis is - and paired up with the incredible gonzo art from Robertson, this is gold-plated entertainment for me!

I'm now frankly embarrassed that I somehow put three Boys volumes on a shelf for two years and haven't been devouring this immediately. Who's been keeping this a secret from me all this time?

Boys takes all the sad, stereotypical superhero "moral Standards" and just tosses them in a ditch where they belong with other ridiculous fantasies that get dragged into the 'real' attempts at reaching behind our basic humanity. Then it brings the band back together with four of the weirdest Bruise Brothers I've ever met, and adds Simon friggin Pegg to the team to keep it "grounded". I'm fact, the ability of the creators to convey emotion (both grounded and exaggerated) is incredible to experience.

I think I'll keep these books in an "In case of emergency" glass case nearby, every time I try to dig though another bog of second-rate DC nonsense that I force myself to read "to understand the continuity". Kinda like keeping some adrenaline in a giant syringe, to shock me back to life anytime I slip into a saccharine coma.

Finally, a capes-and-tights book that treats me like an adult, and thinks for one second what these above-us-all goons would *really* act like with unlimited power. Gotham Central tried but still put them on a pedestal. Powers treats me like an adult to the underbelly, but still has a few heroes that were "Marilyn-ized". Irredeemable only wishes it could write half as well as any of these, especially The Boys' razor-sharp dialogue and story.
Profile Image for Nikhil.
333 reviews31 followers
October 16, 2017
Review of all 12 volumes.

Simply terrible. It has a somewhat interesting premise, but squanders it almost immediately. For all its claims to be a new type of superhero comic, it adheres to the worst tropes of the genre -- sexual violence against women (and fridging of women) as backdrop and motivation for male characters, gratuitous nudity for nothing more than titillation, repeated use of racial and homophobic slurs to make characters "edgier", etc. Even if you ignore this (and you shouldn't), the plot and structure of the series are weak. The final story arc is one big deus ex machina; there are multiple volumes of imbecilic backstory replete with past trauma = deep charaterization; the political views are consistent with that of a teenager who first watched fight club, etc. It is deeply unclear to me why this series is praised. A hard pass.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Sagan.
236 reviews2,086 followers
January 27, 2020
The first real dive into the world of comic-books. DEAR GOD I LOVE THIS STORY. Superpowered beings doing whatever they want? Yes, please. [it's super adult, super gritty, super mature, super dark, super raw. not for the faint of heart].
Profile Image for Paul Nelson.
641 reviews138 followers
September 25, 2015
What an awesome concept this series is, there's an abundance of superheroes on the planet and not all of them are nice guys, in fact during their rescue missions they occasionally kill an innocent bystander or two.
 
Hughie has found true love, unfortunately it's shattered irreparably when a superhero accidentally takes his girlfriend out while in pursuit of a villain (and that's not for a candlelight dinner). The Scot is approached by Billy Butcher and his dog Terror with an offer to join his team 'The Boys', tasked by the authorities to keep the Superheroes in check.
 
The other members of the group are proper nutters, the mountain called Mother's milk, the Frenchman, and the psychopathic Female. They inject the juice before an altercation with a super power, so their abilities are matched and they don't get hurt.
 
The Seven are the elite of superheroes and they accept a temporary new member to cover injury, Starlight doesn't get quite what she expected for her initiation though. It seems sexual services are required to maintain your place in the elite and our superheroes are painted in a pretty unsavoury light. Uncouth thugs with little goodness in them, it's all an act for the public and their arrogance sometimes needs addressing. This meeting I guess must come in the future so a lower key bunch of supes takes precedent for our bunch of anti heroes.
 
This is my second read from Garth Ennis this month after Preacher vol 2 and The Boys is just a little bit darker, a little bit dirtier and more violent. So I should like this, it hasn't got the buddy humour of Preacher but it's violent, shocking and glaringly vivid. I found the artwork a bit hit and miss at times, I love the hero bashing slant and I'll definitely continue with the series, it certainly shows promise.

A 3.5* Rating

Also posted at http://paulnelson.booklikes.com/post/...
Profile Image for Subham.
2,554 reviews60 followers
November 8, 2021
This was bananas!

Its a superhero-mocking for sure and like picks up with Billy butcher and his team of mercenaries and their job: hunting the superheroes and we see the origins of the team in particular of this boy named Hughie and that story I know from the show and its f-ed up and well their mission to take down the heroes like The teenage Kix and we also see something brewing with JL-esque team The Seven and its leader Homelander and what happens when they meet?

Its an interesting volume which details the origins, establishes character dynamics and establishes motives but most importantly shows how messed up of a world this is and its well written for sure and the art is okay for the most part but its the character evolution of Hughie thats intriguing and Butcher even more so. A huge recommend for sure!
Profile Image for Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈.
1,525 reviews6 followers
November 30, 2020
I have no compliments for this. I mean, at the very least, could someone have tried to insert something clever or new?

Where to start... where to start... *sighs eternally*.

I had initially worried this would be a scathing review a la my hella unimpressed review of Watchmen but there's just nothing here to really inspire any emotion aside from sheer boredom. I couldn't even get rightfully annoyed at how shittily the women were treated at every turn because it was with overdone tropes. I'm not even angry, I'm just annoyed that even that wasn't something new and unique? I feel like the entirety of this book was just a really vulgar, hilariously violent attempt at writing a fanfic version of Marvel's "The Initiative" because even the plot line of this has been done before.

In this world, supers are awful. They're violent, racist, homophobic, misoygnistic rapists and this "super cool guy" Butcher (who also treats all women like objects) is here to take them to task with his team of boring, bland, no personality having teammates with about 6 lines between them. In this book he recruits a sad sack who's girlfriend died in a hilariously fucked up way because... reasons? Seriously, I saw no reason to recruit this guy.

There's no way around this - I hated the way women were treated in this book 10x more than I hated Locke & Key, the 15 volumes I read of the Walking Dead and Watchmen because dear god, no woman was treated well here and none of them even got to save the day really. Aside from maybe "The Female" but she was referred to as the Female.

In Game of Thrones fashion, every woman featured here aside from Fridget Jones was threatened sexually:
- The up and coming (poor choice of words?) super Starlight (I think that's her name) couldn't join the big super team unless she gave BJ's to 3 of the members of the team. Everyone treats her like a piece of meat, she's religious and has to give that up to fit the "sexy" image they want for her and she sells herself (quite literally) to be a part of the team and is mocked for it. Ohhh, such a new and original plot.
- Mother's Milk's adoptive daughter (actual niece?) is patronizingly told to stop being a dick to her dad by Butcher and this is supposed to be a moment that endears us to him? Whatever.
- There's a disgusting sequence of the Teenage Kix (these names are terrible btw) having an orgy with a bunch of sex workers who are definitely not having a good time
- the CIA agent clearly doesn't want to be having sex with Butcher but her constant insults towards him are meant to show that she "can't resist" him... sure. I feel like someone was writing a self insert character here...
- Butcher's wife was raped by one of the bad supers
- even the female dog is having unwanted sex.

The attempt to show the Teenage Kix as the best example of superhero bad behavior just made it seem like having sex with someone of the same gender is part of the hedonistic behavior and that's fucked up. There's some racist undertones here and we're supposed to believe Butcher's not like that because he makes one comment about the super team providing peace of mind to white people and Mother's Milk is like "Yeah". Mother's Milk legit had 3 lines in this book.

Ugh, to summarize, I'm sure the show is better. Not just because of Kripke but because showrunners tend to improve upon source material that just isn't clever, new or interesting. I mean the Walking Dead comics are pretty goddamn terrible but the showrunners managed to craft female characters with depth and dimension from that garbage so I feel like the Boys will probably manage to do the same thing. Having one female character kick ass doesn't remedy these issues when she had 0 lines and is referred to as "the Female". There's no brownie points for representation when your few characters of color don't matter or seem important at all to the plot except as a pawn.

The most offensive thing about this book is that nothing was new or revolutionary.
- Guy joins the fight after his girl is killed
- Mysterious guy is putting a team together and he has this vendetta because one of the supers raped his wife. I cannot even convey how fucking annoyingly common this fucking plot is. When will someone have the WOMAN get revenge instead of taking this event and making it all about her husband's pain over what happened to her. You are legit centering the pain in this situation around the husband. Again, women don't fucking matter here.
- The "just got off the bus from the Midwest with dreams that are quickly shattered" plot for Starlight
- the team meant to reign in supers (Forget the Civil War film, the Civil War comics covered this before that and I'm sure there's a whole different comic line I'm forgetting)

So... at the end of the day... I have nothing to compliment this book for. I can't even build up to a proper scathing rant because everything in this book has been done before. Suffice to say, I read this with an open mind (that hilarious death scene at the top took me out though and I laughed for a few minutes). I really tried to give it a shot even though this is just everything I don't read comics for - at least (1) good guy, women kicking ass and having lines, good representation of anyone other than white men. I just ask what was the point? To any of it?

Present a team of supers that are actually just really awful and terrible? Have you read the Ultimates?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,445 reviews365 followers
July 23, 2022
GODDAMN this is DARK.

I fkn LOVED IT.

The art is detailed and dark and pulls no punches. It's graphic and 100% Not Safe For Work.

(Seriously, if your boss walks past when the nasty is going down, you're gonna get a serious talking-to.)

The story itself takes the superhero trope and flips it on its head - these mofos have been doing whatever they like in the name of 'saving the world' but now it's time for Butcher to put together a squad that can keep these a-holes accountable.

There is sex, murder, violence, drugs and all manner of filth imaginable and it is detailed in colour so you can really sink into the sordid story. But the grittiness is what lends it sympathy - as depraved as these characters may be, there is heart in Wee Hughie's innocence and the fragility of those caught up in the lewd lives of the Supes. This is not a story that is filthy just for filth's sake.

Don't get me wrong, though. It's definitely 1000% filthy.

So obviously this is some gloriously f**ked up SH*T that has me eager to see what the rest of the series has in store.

Have fun, kids!
Profile Image for RG.
3,089 reviews
May 16, 2018
This is a mockumentary on the stereotype of superheroes. In this world they are also assholes, cruel and perverted but the public dont see this side of things. When they need tk be brought into line, The Boys are sent in. It takes awhile for the characters to be introduced, some having more exposure. The story is quite violent, gory and sexual in nature but Ennis tackles it with a tongue in cheek style. The art is great and compliments the gory violent nature. The pacing is quite slow initially but by the end I was intrigued to read more. Already picked up Vol 2.
Profile Image for Jeanne.
517 reviews299 followers
July 11, 2016
UPDATED: Just reread this book, and it's still ultra-violent fun, but it also has issues. No surprises, books like this kind of thrive on being over-the-top crude.

I mean the book has an anal hamster joke. They drew it in meticulous detail. So yeah.

The part that's interesting (upon reread) is how the book appeals to this sense of superiority within the reader that allows them to simultaneously look down on "heroes" and tradition comic book ideals of heroism while excusing or even justifying the real issues with the book and bigotry within the narrative.

It's a narrative phenomena, that's common in anti-hero stories, where in all the people who should be good and/or heroic are The Worst. Which makes the anti-heroes (who are arguable as bad or worse) look better by comparison, even though they are misogynists who delight in using their dog to rape people.

You can see this subtle, but nonetheless insidious normalization of bigotry in how a woman super hero is sexually assaulted by a senior superhero team member, and the assault is framed as funny, her fault, and also to make the senior superhero guy look worse than the lead, who himself uses a woman for sex while insulting and degrading her while having sex with her.

The fact that these scenes appear within the same story arc, but the reader is very clearly not supposed to judge he man who calls himself a hero as somehow as a villain, while admiring an equally deplorable man as a likable because "at least he admits he's a pig," kind of sums up the issue with the anti-hero genre as a whole.

You can also see the faux progressive bullshit in how the team has a woman, who is absolutely powerful and a equal to her teammates. But she has no dialogue, voice or real personality past being an object built on the assume incongruity of a small woman being violent and dangerous. Cue my epic eye roll.

Another example, the only black characters are a man, who is a friend of the lead, who is emasculated by his hyper sexualized teenage daughter in a scene that is the most ridiculous white savior masturbation fodder I have seen since the movie Avatar.

It really has to make you wonder about the mindset of a person who writes a scene where a white guy, who uses his dog to rape other people, lectures a teenage black girl on how she should respect her father.

In the end, this book still has some nostalgic value, like South Park reruns and those dead baby jokes you used to tell in 4th grade, before you realized that shock and humor aren't intrinsically intertwined.

I'll leave the star rating as is with the hopes that people will read my review before making a decision on the book/series.

OLD REVIEW

First off this series is NOT for the faint of heart, like AT ALL. Within the first few panel we see Ennis’ classic brand of unflinchingly graphic, gory violence. I mean GROTESQUE, HORRIFIC VIOLENCE. A woman literally ends up a red smear on a brick wall. Then there's the raunch, borderline offensive humor, like hamster being used as an anal sex toy. No exaggeration. A character has a live hamster drop out of his asshole.

So traditional superhero fans, newcomers to comic books or anyone with a touchie gag reflex should steer clear.

Okay, the rest of you morbidly curious, fans of ultra violence and toilet humor welcome home my friends. This book is for you.

I started reading this series in the single issue format because I love Garth Ennis (he long ago won my heart with his run of the Punisher and his series 303 which are brilliant must reads as well). Right off the bat, I fell in love with the crude humor and over the top gore, but most of all it was Ennis’ special brand of cynical social commentary that made this an instant classic.

The Boys is set in a world where super powered “heroes” are a dime a dozen. They are everywhere, fighting equally super powered villains and normal human beings are paying the price. In this world, super “heroes” are like anyone else with power and no sense of consequences, they are giant assholes. Like overpowered toddlers they destroy people, property and treat everyone, including each other like human toilets, including a young female team member prostituting herself to get be part of the team.

What do you do when people like that have all the power? Easy, you call The Boys. A black ops team created (and reformed in the start of this story) to police “supes.” This ragtag group of lovable misfits, lovable if you’re a weirdo like me and like bizarre, broken people, are far more deadly and dangerous than they appear. Each one has their unique talent, each is twisted in the awesome oh-so Ennis way and each one gets their moment to shine.

I won’t spoil the plot because if you haven’t been scared off by all the crap I’ve listed then you should go out and at least get this first trade paperback to see if you can hang with the gross out humor and explicit violence.

The Boys is a guilty pleasure that never fails to make me laugh out loud whenever I reread it. While it is an acquired taste, it is also tells a compelling story about corruption and tells a simple truth. No matter how powerful you are there will always be someone who is better and god help you if that person is Billy Butcher, because he likes making bad people hurt and his dogs likes to fuck them too. (<--not joking abou this, remember not for the faint of heart).

If it is your brand of humor it should already be a part of your collection. Nobody does comic books like Ennis and honestly, nobody should. ;)
Profile Image for Pedro Ceballos.
287 reviews25 followers
March 23, 2021
Interesante trama donde los héroes no son héroes ni siquiera personas con buenas cualidades, más bien una banda de egoístas, inescrupulosos, abusivos y ególatras y el grupo de The Boys (originado en la CIA) busca frenarlos. Imágenes bastante subidas de tono, no aptas para niños.
Profile Image for Nick Imrie.
287 reviews128 followers
November 8, 2019
Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick and wicked - Jane Austen

Personally, I like a good hero. I have several books about sweet and noble people doing the right thing that I keep for rainy and depressing days. They cheer me right up. But I also get how stories about goody-two-shoes are sickening, and make you want to force the characters into real situations where they have to admit that they're not perfect.

The Boys is a superhero story seen in the dark mirror of The Snow Queen. It is utterly, relentlessly cynical, cruel, jaded, degraded, mean, and petty. I knew that I wasn't going to read book 2 when one of the murdered superheroes is found to have a hamster in his butthole. It's just gross for the sake of being gross. It's entirely the humour of a psychopathic teenage boy, and the only sin it's willing to criticise is hypocrisy. So the bad guys degrade and murder people, and pretend to be heroes. While the good guys degrade and murder people, but at least they're honest about it (to themselves, at least, obviously they're not going to face justice or stop or anything).

As much as depictions of perfect virtue are tedious, so too are depictions of perfect vice. And the cruelty on display in this book is mostly there for laughs, or just to be edgy. Is there any point to drawing nameless prostitutes bleeding out after being railed by super-powered sadists? Or the multiple views of their sad or pained expressions while they wait to be abused?

In it's own way, this book is every bit as unrealistic and partial as the Golden Age comics that it parodies. The heroes are able to fight the evil 'supes' because they take a drug to make them temporarily super-strong. Obviously if such a drug existed then the military, police, and government wouldn't be intimidated by the supes because they'd be suping up themselves. And it wouldn't be long before all the normal people got their hands on some too. It's not well-thought through because ultimately, this isn't a serious look at how to deal with superheroes who are flawed or evil, it's just an excuse for comedic brutality. The best look at superheroes from a realistic perspective will always be Worm.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
August 5, 2015
Who watches the watchmen, in this comic? The Boys. And the supes are as far as I can tell all stupes, jokes. This is really raunchy, a sort of satirical comedy about superheroes, and pretty funny. A comical bulldog is featured. Sometimes it settles down for a bit from the sex and violence and you get to see a warmer side of a couple of The Boys, but that's really just to give you a breather from the laughs. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did.
Profile Image for Rodrigo.
1,051 reviews407 followers
January 1, 2021
Me ha parecido genial, entra en la historia a saco.
Me ha sorprendido lo diferente que es a la serie.
Me parece que me va a gustar más incluso que la serie.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Julian.
Author 6 books2 followers
May 17, 2011
In Watchmen, Alan Moore posited the idea that superheroes were actually not quite as perfect, as motivated by a desire for truth, justice and so on and so forth as you might think, creating a frightening world where the most morally responsible character happened to be the one who was most openly psychopathic. In The Authority Vol. 1: Relentless, Warren Ellis took a stab at taking this one stage further and seeing what a world controlled by superheroes might be like, but turned back from exposing the horror for what it was. But Garth Ennis knew no such fear: in The Boys he mounts a fearsome assault on the whole concept of the superhero, showing us what their world might really be like.

And what a world it is. Fed with the bread and circuses the superheroes provide, most of the populace sit back and seriously believe the stuff about moral rectitude and all that, blithely discounting the enormous amount of collateral damage that they create as they battle crime that, frankly, probably wouldn't exist if they didn't. We see the truth of their lives, driven by animal lusts, ego and greed. We see, is at possible, a naive, innocent young superhero, induced into the highest echelons of their world and forced to prostitute herself first to her 'peers' and then to the whole world. And behind these brainless parasites we see a faceless something that really calls the shots.

Something must be done, to save the world from the disaster that it runs to embrace with open arms. Cue the boys. All mad, all bad, all extremely dangerous to know, and most likely psychotic to boot, they are the only thing defending humanity from being squeezed to death between the lusts of the superheroes and the sinister purpose of their masters. The boys (and one female) fight the good fight to ensure that, even if the superheroes cannot be destroyed, they can at least be kept leashed, for what might happen if they were unleashed is truly terrible.

Read it, it's soul scouring. The one-hundred-and-eighty degree view of the superhero is as riveting as the terrible fate of the heroine is shattering. The book is a necessary reminder that what is best about us is our humanity, not special powers.
Profile Image for James DeSantis.
Author 19 books1,123 followers
December 29, 2016
Like Invincible I decided to re-read series I read as a kid to see if I got a better grasp on them. The Boys is one I remember fondly for being over the top and fucking insane. Well guess what? it still is years later.

So you got the first few pages showing how superheroes can be pieces of shit. Watch as this poor character has his girlfriend body slammed into a wall and turn into a slush of blood. It's sad, fucked up, and you're like "FUCK THESE GUYS" and it only gets worse from there. Force Blowjobs (rape), fucking whores till they bleed, coke, cutting...yeah this is a lot of dark shit.

It stays entertaining throughout somehow despite being stupid and silly. The art is great, the fights are as brutal as one would expect, and the dialog is like Preacher but on crack. It's one to sit back and laugh at, don't take serious, cause Garth can't be.

3/5.
70 reviews6 followers
April 3, 2008
Character interaction is poorly written and comes across really awkward. Plots are not particularly strong. And frankly, once you've seen him do cynicism and toilet humor for the fiftieth time, it wears a little thin. Plus, Alan Moore, Mark Waid, and Frank Miller have all tackled this basic premise in better books already. And that's just off the top of my head.
Profile Image for Bee.
847 reviews3 followers
November 30, 2016
My review of this is going to make me come off as a whiny and humorless, so I'll start with a disclaimer: I'm cool. I can hang. I sometimes read graphic novels with hyper-violence, hyper-sexuality. It can definitely be done with awareness, story-building intention, or to make a point.

But this. This was...uggggh. It was so over the top. Yes, I know some would argue that it's the point of this, but the treatment of women and the homophobia made it almost unreadable. The women aren't characters, but things to have around so that the men react to them. Look, this one dies so that Wee Hughie has a backstory! This one has hate-sex with the Butcher, despite being the head of the CIA! This one illustrates how awful the "superheroes" are because of the way they sexually assault her! And the portrayal of gay characters is so, so ludicrous.

There's another review that hits it on the head for me. "If the misogyny's aim is to hold a critical mirror up to the superhero world, it completely misses the mark by amplifying it - something, I fear, may be lost on most of the intended audience." Mic drop.
January 1, 2020
A ver, este libro no es para todo el mundo. Lo dice la descripción, lo dice la nota del editor y lo dicen las reseñas: es fuerte, política, social y éticamente incorrecto, con escenas de violencia y sobre todo sexo explícitas y con tintes de humor negro y a diferencia de lo que pasa con otros libros, esta vez no son exageraciones.
Además aquí tenemos también violaciones, acoso sexual, homofobia, racismo, prostitución, o sea, hay de todo lo malo que te puedas imaginar.

The boys tiene una premisa muy interesante: se desarrolla en un mundo en el que los superhéroes no son tan héroes, sino unos hijos de perra alcohólicos, violadores, corruptos, en fin, como si se hubieran puesto de acuerdo en darle poderes a la peor escoria de la sociedad, así que alguien debe detenerlos, y aquí es donde entran The boys algunos de ellos con deudas personales con los súpers y otros por el simple placer de joderlos, se unen para tratar de destruirlos.

Aquí no hay buenos, por un lado tenemos a superhéroes idiotas y por el otro a antihéroes sádicos, así que esto es un cóctel de violencia, sexo, crítica social, más violencia y más sexo.

A pesar de que pueda parecer que hablo desde una perspectiva negativa -y quizá debería- yo lo disfruté. Este primer tomo es muy introductorio pues nos presenta a los personajes y nos explica por dónde va a ir la trama e incluso puede ser un poco lento o confuso a veces con los cambios repentinos de escenas y escenarios, pero nada muy brusco o molesto.

Si después de leer esto, te sigue llamando la atención y crees que ya estás mentalmente preparado para tomarte todos estos temas con calma y poca seriedad y más como un trasfondo de crítica social o simple entretenimiento yo creo que también te puede gustar.
Profile Image for L. McCoy.
742 reviews1 follower
July 16, 2017
This is definitely a good one.

Pros:
The story is awesome.
The cast of characters is pretty great.
Fantastic art throughout!
The universe this story takes place in is very interesting. This book is a different take on superpowered characters (some claim it's proof Ennis hates superheroes, I guess people suddenly forgot all the other superhero books he's written) where a secret CIA subdivision has to handle superhero related matters and the superheroes are very corrupt, it makes for a very interesting and well done fictional world.
It's unpredictable, never know what kind of craziness to expect.
Great action scenes with that great art I mentioned as well as that good ol' over-the-top Ennis gore and they're overall exciting scenes.
This comic is very funny!

Cons:
This book tries a bit too hard with the NSFW content. I fully expected this to be pretty R-rated, it is Ennis after all and some people do exaggerate how explicit it is by far (example: I seen one guy in the reviews put it in a shelf called sexathon which uh... yeah, that's not accurate) but some parts are just edgy for the sake of being edgy.
Some characters are way underused.

This first volume is really good and the series has potential to become one of my favorites but it's a bit flawed. I'd still recommend it! 4/5
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