Overview

The Boys #43

Review

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The Boys #43

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Darick Robertson & Richard P. Clark
  • Colors: Tony Avina
  • Story Title: The Innocents, Conclusion
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 16, 2010

The Boys, created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson almost five years ago, has lasted forty-three issues of peaks and valleys when it comes to success, as well as content and quality. An issue of The Boys was sure to deliver a few things, without fail. Foul language, shocking violence, and sick humor. Disguised in all that, though, is the bittersweet story of a young man healing from the death of his girlfriend. Since then, this man (Wee Hughie) has learned to move on, fight for justice, and finds himself in the middle of something much bigger than he could’ve imagined.

The series began with the brutal and accidental murder of Wee Hughie’s loved one by a super and has since chronicled his journey from forlorn survivor to revenge thirsty crusader, but never truly losing his humanity. Hughie is growing into a hero, and we’ve been witness to his rise in confidence, dedication, and maturity. Most recently, he’s learned to love again and this makes him a more steadfast man. Unbeknownst to him, though, she’s a Supe, which doesn’t sit well with his boss. Hughie’s loyalties are put into question for all the wrong reasons.

The main question for us as readers though has been, can all of the things Hughie’s seen and done be reconciled in the eyes of his new and former loves? Just how much has he changed and is it all for the better? During the course of this last arc, "The Innocents," which concludes with this issue, Hughie’s been put to the test as a teammate and man. He’s been placed in an impossible situation and given the opportunity to rise above it. All those responsible for his predicament, from the suits at Vought American to his brash team leader, The Butcher, have little faith in Hughie’s ability to overcome and survive. Sure, he doesn’t necessarily win every scuffle, but he blindly leads with his heart, making him the most heroic character in this post-modern mash-up/lampooning of superhero comics.

The beauty of The Boys is its shameless and simultaneous lambasting of superhero clichés as well as corporate American culture. The creators have melded the extremes of each faction and created a correlation that makes sense and feels spot on. It’s as though the marriage between these ultra conservative and power hungry entities had always been. Just like assigning different a Lantern Corps to each color of the spectrum, it’s an amazingly simple idea that’s given credence by the way it’s handled.

Darick Robertson’s pencils are reliable as usual, getting the assist from Richard P. Clark. I’m not sure about the extent of Clark’s contribution but the work between the two artists is relatively seamless and doesn’t detract from the story. Many times when art duties are shared, it’s potentially jarring. As a reader of a long form story like this, the consistency in visuals and tone is very welcome and appreciated. Robertson has set the tone for this series and at no point does it deviate.

Special kudos goes to the writer and artists for the physical climax halfway through the book. The action is well handled, well executed, and brutal to watch. This book is no stranger to violence, so it runs the risk of numbing its readers. In this instance, though, they succeeded in making us care so much for those involved that the altercation took on more meaning. It’s a successful connection of medium and audience when you can witness a fictional character getting hurt more than he ever has before and you wince. In that moment, you genuinely care for this person that’s never even taken a breath in the real world.

That care is what makes or breaks a book like The Boys. With a story and style that’s so beyond the confines of normalcy and social decency, it’s with this show of heart that the creators can maintain survival and success.

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