Review: The Boys #52

Published on March 4th, 2011

After going home for a visit in the pages of Highland Laddie, Hughie has returned to The Boys in this latest issue. If you’ve never read an issue of this amazing comic from the mind of Garth Ennis, you’ve been missing out. In a world where superheroes are created and controlled by a massive corporation called Vought America Consolidated, The Boys is a group of individuals, funded by the CIA, that keep watch on the superheroes and keep them in line.

theboys52The issue starts with Hughie while he’s having a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel  Greg D. Malory, who formed the original incarnation of The Boys. He later disbanded the team after having problems with Butcher, the leader of the current team. While Hughie was taking his sabbatical, Malory was posing as an old English man that had befriended Hughie to see how he would cope in a bad situation. Malory points out to Hughie that he has a lot to learn if he’s going to continue to be a part of the team.

Malory and Hughie go on chatting for a while about Hughie’s problems with his girlfriend, that’s really a superhero, and also why Malory came to California to retire. We also learn that years of using Compound V (the chemical that gives superheroes their powers, and that The Boys use in small doses when they fight the supes) has extended his life span to the point where Malory may appear to be in his 60’s, but he’s actually in his 90’s. The lieutenant then goes on to explain that he shares Hughie’s worries about what Butcher may be up to. He’s also decided to tell Hughie how and why he started the group in the first place to give him a better understanding of what may be going on in Butcher’s mind.

The book then shifts to 1944, where Captain Malory is having issues with the new tanks he’s been given. While the new tanks have a new, more powerful gun that is capable of taking out a German tank, they are still as flawed and destructible as the old tanks. Malory is summoned by the Colonel who has some visitors from Vought American. The Vought American guys brought in something else to help in the war effort, new soldiers.  Malory’s sector has been known to be a quiet one, so Vought-American thought it would be a good place to try out their new team of “Super-Soldiers.” Unfortunately, things were going to get a lot tougher for the American soldiers stationed in the Ardennes when the Battle of Bulge starts.

I’ve been reading The Boys since the first issue came out under the Wildstorm banner and almost every issue has been an amazing read. The problem with this series is that it gets really confusing if you haven’t been reading it from the beginning. Even I get lost once in a while. At the same time, it’s really cool to read this is and get all the references to past issues. In fact, the whole thing with Vought American having superheroes during WWII was mentioned in an early issue involving The Legend. I like how the history of The Boys has slowly been revealed in little bits throughout the series’ run. I think going back and forth makes it a much more interesting read. With only about twenty issues or so left for this book I’m getting really excited to see how it ends, but I know that when it does end, I’m really going to miss it.

Ken Zeider