I started and read maybe two thirds of the original run of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys. Financial reasons made me quit, plus I don’t think I saw Ennis saying anything he hadn’t said before. True, I did still find it entertaining, but nothing I hadn’t seen him say before.
But now that series has somehow become a live action show on Amazon Prime. Well, we might as well check it out. My brother, a big Ennis fan, said he liked it after all…
Basically, the series sets up a conflict between two groups. We only really see one. The Justice League-like The Seven are the world’s top heroes. They’re also more interested in making money than saving lives. Led by the high-flying Homelander, they make movies and sell things. Sometimes they save the day. The public loves them.
On the other side is the group that will be The Boys. So far, the only one we’ve seen is Billy Butcher. A growling slob of a man, he’s there to bring down the Supes that get out of line. Why? Well, he hasn’t said yet. But he’s recruiting a young man better known as the idealistic Wee Hughie. This Hughie, unlike his comic counterpart drawn to look like Simon Pegg, is not a Scotsman. He appears to be an American, but Pegg plays his dad. That’s cool.
We also see the idealistic Starlight join the Seven as the newest seventh member. She isn’t on the team for five minutes before the Deep, king of the seven seas, demands the most demoralizing thing he could, and the best comfort Annie “Starlight” January can get comes from Queen Maeve. Mostly, said comfort amounts to advice to not let the others see Starlight that much of a mess. Oh, and the invisible guy Translucent is hiding in the bathroom.
So, aside from a comics accurate death to Hughie’s girlfriend and a nice chat between two people who don’t know yet they are on opposite sides of a war, the new series seems to be closer to the spirit of the original comic than a literal retelling. That’s fine. Ennis’ writing sometimes takes on a somewhat juvenile tone, and a little updating helps. It’s still gross and funny, and Hughie still finds a reason to hate superspeedster A-Train beyond the obvious.
Is this sort of a series for you? That depends. Do you like the idea of Karl Urban getting into a fistfight with an invisible man? If so, this may be worth checking out. I will be, at least for this first batch of episodes.