Review: The Boys #32

Writing: Ennis continues to split the screen time between The Boys and Annie. The Boys deal with the Female’s injury, and the fact that something may be very wrong, which leads to the goriest fight since the first arc. “The Self-Preservation Society” looks like it’s going to be one of the most action-heavy arcs of the series. While The Boys are kicking the crap out of the supes, Annie is faced with a horrible re-imagining, complete with a new origin and a dreadful new costume. The Annie moments were poignant, and a good commentary on the dark side of today’s superhero comics.

Art: As much as I sometimes hate to admit it, the art in a comic really does hinder the story at times. Though his attempts to keep Robertson’s style is admirable, Carlos Ezquerra is no Darick Robertson. This comic, particularly the action, looks very sloppy. He handles the Annie scenes well enough, but, as I mentioned earlier, this issue has a lot of action.

Final Word: The satire is sharp and thought-provoking, but, sadly, the art does bring the quality down. This is not one of the weaker issues of the series because of Ennis. I hope Ezquerra can move to a project that better suits his talent and I hope that Robertson comes back soon.

Grade: B-

For more comic goodness, go here.

4 thoughts on “Review: The Boys #32

  1. A hero is only as good as the bad-guy they’re facing. That’s the inherent problem with “The Boys” right at the moment. First Ennis completely cops out with The Female’s “death”, and turns it into just another “oh, they were just BADLY BEATEN” comic cliche, and then he reduces his “#2 Superteam in the world” to a complete joke- just another bunch of losers that Butcher easily dispatches all by himself. There’s ZERO excitement or drama in this book, because we know the alleged “good guys” will never, EVER have even the slightest problem beating the, uh, “bad guys”. And that’s the other problem: The Boys aren’t really “good guys”. Everyone in this title is scummy, vile, and evil, so it’s hard to care who actually wins. I was rooting for Payback to kill a couple of them just so that SOMEONE would pay for being the kind of gigantic douchebag that every single character has been since Issue #1.

  2. Wow!

    Ok, well, let’s talk Female’s death. Was it a cop-out? Perhaps. I can’t remember. Did Frenchie actually say she was dead? Because otherwise, I think it was safe to assume she was still alive. We still have these character’s origins to read.

    As for the villains thing, I think part of what Ennis is going for is that there aren’t any clear-cut villains. Remember, Ennis hates superhero comics. So, he has a world where everyone is free to make their own decisions, good or bad.

    Payback are the “heroes” and The Boys keep them in check, often using methods that are equally brutal. As we’ve seen, especially recently, Butcher is bad, bad man. And Hughie is the moral center in the group.

    Did any of that make sense?

  3. We’re actually discussing The Boys! Wow indeed! 🙂 Even over at the Dynamite website, there’s only like maybe three people who’ve ever posted regarding this comic.

    Okay, as for the Female: Here’s why I think it’s a cop-out. In issue #31, we saw that Stormfront had incinerated an entire room full of people with his “Power Scream”. Then, after sitting on top of The Female and pounding her head into the floor, he uses the same attack on her. This, of course, AFTER she’d already pulled out his eye, and Ennis had established that Stormfront is a Nazi-Racist. (Because there are only two kinds of Superheroes in the world of The Boys: Gays and Racists. Or in the case of Homelander: Gay Racists.)

    So, given that Stormfront is 1) The second-most powerful Supe in the world, and 2) He’s a Nazi, and 3), He’s a racist, and 4), he just had his damn EYE pulled out, does it make any sense at all that he’d just rough The Female up a little?

    Now, as for Ennis hating Superhero Comics: that’s fine, but why write one if you hate them? I hate “Twilight”, but you don’t seem me trying to publish novels about Sparkly Vampires. 🙂

    As for everyone being able to make their own decisions, good or bad: I’ve yet to see ANYONE make a good decision in the pages of The Boys. There’s not a single decent human being in it. Oh, there’s plenty of murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, but not a single, solitary example of “good” behavior. Maybe Ennis thinks that’s how the world really is, but that’s an awfully juvenile opinion to have. There are plenty of decent people in the real world. But they have no representation whatsoever in the world of The Boys.

    Now, you mentioned Wee Hughie. Yes, I suppose he’s supposed to be the closest thing to a “good” person that exists in The Boys. Yet let’s take a look at him: He’s a paranoid Tinfoil Hatter that thinks Aliens are running the Government, he’s a chronically unemployed pothead, and he was the very first member of The Boys that we ever saw commit murder. Twice. Of the SAME GUY. Plus, Butcher (of all people!) constantly has to remind Hughie that they’re “not supposed to kill people”, because Hughie is always going homicidal in every fight they get in.

    Seriously, if Hughie is the moral center of the group, the group needs some serious therapy. 🙂

    …and don’t get me started on Starlight. I guess we’re supposed to think she’s also a “good” character, but it’s a pretty good indication of how completely insane Ennis has become that his “good” character is basically a whore who pulled a train on three total strangers just to get hired with The Seven. It’s like Ennis literally doesn’t have any idea what normal people are like. Or maybe he just thinks normal people are boring.

    It probably sounds like I hate “The Boys”. I don’t. I just hate the fact that Ennis has somehow convinced himself that the very worst aspects of his writing style are actually the BEST aspects of it. It’s like he honestly thinks that it’s the racist, violent, homophobic, pornographic garbage that he spews that makes him a good writer. It’s not. It’s the characterization, plotting, and ability to make people care about his stories that makes him a good writer.

  4. Once again: Wow!

    No one discusses The Boys? Well, if you look around the site, you’ll see that I’ve been reviewing the series since the late teens, and I’ve read it since the beginning.

    I’ll try to argue a bunch of your points in one! Have you ever heard of Thomas Hobbes? He’s a philosopher who believed that everyone is selfish and terrible. I actually believe that because how are we ever good? Is one person born better than another? I don’t think so. I think you’re only as good as you try to be. And I think that Ennis believes a similar philosophy.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that is the downfall of almost every character in The Boys. If you have the key to everything, how much self-control do you have? That’s why you think everyone in the book is a racist. I think they hate everyone. This is also why you think they’re gay. Did you read Millar’s Wanted? Same thing. When you’ve already slept with so many women, why not sleep with men, just to get a different king of pleasure? These are hedonists.

    Ugh. Sorry to get philosophical, but I think that this would be Ennis’ reasoning. As for why Ennis is writing a superhero title, well, I think, in a way, he’s trying to write a superhero comic the way it should be. It also gives him the freedom to openly criticize the current nature of comics, which you’ve seen recently in Herogasm.

    Oh, and quick side note, check out HBO’s True Blood. It’s Twilight done right. Plus, you get to see a lot of Rogue’s boobs!

    I do think that Hughie and Annie are good people. They are, however, trapped in a dark, dark world. So, this kind of leads to a Stockholm syndrome “in a bad crowd” mentality. But there are reasonable explanations for their sins. Hughie has been homicidal because of accident, self-defense, and… I guess the darkness that we talked about, after seeing the G-Men slaughtered. And Annie, well, that’s been discussed in the book. I don’t think she’s a whore. Yes, it’s too bad that Ennis inserts rape into so many of his stories…

    Well, this is long enough. It’s payback for your comment. 😉

    But, lastly, Ennis doesn’t call this his best work. That would be his War Stories and Battlefield comics. You may want to try those.

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