The postmodern genre of superhero bashing is now firmly established but this was one of the titles that helped create it. The premise is that people who acquire superpowers, like people who win the lottery or are elected to positions of power, tend to go off the rails. When society can’t tell you what to do any more you tend to give in to base human weakness. When you have superpowers you are opened up to a whole new realm of excess and depravity – and with Garth Ennis at the helm this gets very depraved indeed. To combat these untouchables a special team is needed and these are the “boys” of the title.
It has a slow, but shocking, start as we are introduced to the team and what they are up against through the induction of its newest member. There are lots of references to things that have gone before and people who are no longer with us. This builds up our interest as we are drip-fed enough information to keep us guessing. The characters are intriguing and the superheroes are less than heroic making them easy to deplore. As the storyline progresses the methods the Boys must use get less wholesome and it does make you think if the watchers will become as bad as the watched.
The art is superb with great facial expressions as there is a lot of shock and disgust to portray. The depravity mentioned is frequent but not pornographic. It manages to horrify and titillate in equal measure as there are enough visual clues to make your dirty mind run riot.
This is a good start to what promises to be a grand spectacle of a story that is both shockingly entertaining and subtly thought provoking. Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: The Boys: Volume 2 – Get Some – Garth Ennis