Just as a car starts in first gear and slowly builds up speed so does The Boys – and some might say all of Ennis’ work too. We have been introduced to the world, the supes, our heroes and their antagonists. Now it is time for things to hit their grove as the pedal gets put to the metal, well almost. This volume is a mystery/ thriller that sees our heroes lifting the lid on the G-Men and seeing what dark secrets lie within. It is a dark secret but handled in a thoughtful and mature manner. There are the cheap shots and gross out humour which Ennis is famous for but they are kept tightly in check so as not to interrupt the story.
A pattern is emerging where the even volumes will be The Boy’s in action off solving a mystery, like the Scooby Gang gone bad, and the odd numbers will delve into their back story. The back story is what you want to know about and these volumes to provide the suspense that makes you crave the answers.
This is mostly dialogue as The Boys are turning out to be very wordy books. Good dialogue I grant you, although our heroes are English, Scottish, African American, French and a mute so there is a great variety of language. There is also a lot of sense being talked. Just as Jonathan Swift and George Orwell used allegory to lift the skirts of the modern world to expose the unsavoury, that is what we have here. But in day-glow humour instead.
The art is still brilliant and has such a rich, lavish feel. The colours in this volume really sing out too. You do get the feeling that the visual aspect is secondary to the writing. Not in terms of quality but in terms of priority. The words tell the story and the pictures are just running to keep up. There are certain sight gags and visual surprises that would be lost if this were a novel and it might not reach its target audience if it were a prose paperback but there is room for a better balance.
I can’t wait for the next one as this is undoubtedly an incredible Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: The Boys: Volume 5 – Herogasm – Garth Ennis