This is a mammoth volume. A full 12 issues of The Boys. Unfortunately it is wall to wall text. Endless talking heads spouting dry exposition. Some of it answers your questions, some of it rounds out the story and some of it sets up the future. It is necessary in a way and there is an argument for getting it all behind you but it is like swallowing a massive lard brick. With Hughie off on his Highland Laddie romp, the humour, which is a big part of The Boys is absent, as is our friendly guide to this world.
There are so many better ways this could have been presented. Even just straight prose would have been preferable. It is hard to believe this is the best Ennis could come up with. It is like he lost all heart. There is no passion or energy at all here. Even the Second World War, something which Ennis usually loves, is flat and dry. Maybe reading it as single issues would be more palatable because trying to digest this volume in one sitting is awful.
Robertson has stepped down as artist and although it retains a similar style it has a much more digital sheen to it. They do put effort in and there are some nice colours, subtle blur effects and good choice of tones. There are some transcripts that pop up (too little too late) which are integrated into the lettering very well. There are some nice covers and issue fifty cleverly ties in with issue one.
This was all set to be a big lemon until the last issue. We escape the talking heads, the story takes a shocking turn and there are some great art choices. Almost too little too late but it guarantees you stick around for the next volume. Just barely a Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: The Boys: Volume 10 – Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker – Garth Ennis