Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
And, so, we hit my favourite comic book of 2012… THE BOYS BY GARTH ENNIS, RUSS BRAUN, DARICK ROBERTSON, JOHN MCCREA, KEITH BURNS, TONY AVINA, AND SIMON BOWLAND!
Yes, The Boys. When compiling this list, no other comic cried out, demanding to be put atop like The Boys. It offered not one, but two fantastic conclusions this year. First, wrapping up the superheroes plot and, then, wrapping up business between Butcher and Hughie. It was an awful year of issues that broke my heart again and again. But, first Ennis concluded the superhero conflict as the supes descended on the White House and Butcher came face to face with the man who killed his wife. And he kills the bastard. Uses a crowbar to rip the top of his head off and pulls out chunks of brains. Because that’s what you want to do to a man who raped your wife and impregnated her with a superhuman child that burst out of her like an alien. It’s crude and nasty and so, so, so satisfying to see. I do love superhero comics, but I love hating superheroes, too, and, not since Marshal Law has a superhero murder been oh so lovely. The Boys do what they set out to do. The good guys win.
Until Billy Butcher does some nasty shit and things go south. And it keeps getting worse. Every issue is nothing but shock and gasps and heartbreak. Ennis plays off everything he can and do so masterfully. If there’s something that man is great at, it’s final storyarcs that just crush you and surprise you and leave you wanting more while hating him for what he does. Nobody does it better, honestly.
And, then, there’s the final issue where Stillwell realises that he is fucked forever. And Hughie and Annie get a happy ending. I love happy endings. And I wanted this one more than any other. Garth Ennis may be a bastard of a writer, but he knows when to deliver the feel good moment. He much softer than people give him credit for and it’s one of the reasons why he’s one of my favourites.
While Darick Robertson returning for the final issue was nice, I will continue to be in awe of the way Russ Braun stepped onto the title when he did. It was so effortless the way he made the characters his own — make the book his own. Robertson’s return was appropriate, but didn’t feel quite right. Then again, Braun got to draw the Hughie/Butcher finale and that was just fantastic.
The Boys was cheap and crude in its treatment of superheroes. But, it was funny and heartfelt and touching and true and right. I miss is quite a bit and I can’t see that feeling ever going away completely.
That does it for the posts here on Comics Should be Good. Still two hours to go over at GraphiContent.
[Don’t forget to donate what you can to the Hero Initiative (Details in this post)! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations — and who to thank.]
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.