Oprah Time: The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

The Boys Volume 3

I am a fan of modern comic books, particularly writers like Alan Moore that reinvigorate the genres or take things in new directions. Garth Ennis new series The Boys reinterprets the whole superhero canon of comic books.

In the traditional canon, ‘with great power, comes great responsibility’ means that Batman plays nanny to Gotham, Spiderman constantly struggles to do the right thing and The Punisher is driven by a sense of natural justice.

In the world that Ennis created, superheroes conduct mirrors the self-indulgent behaviour of celebrities a la Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon or Jeremy Clarkson’s interpretation of a lorry driver’s job ‘change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder’.

Their behaviour is indulged and covered up the faction of the military industrial complex  that created and profited from the superheroes. Chief amongst the cover-ups was a botched rescue attempt of a hijacked airplane where negligence and a loss of nerve kills the passengers and wipes out the Brooklyn bridge.

To counteract these super-degenerates the CIA has its own team called The Boys. The series follows the adventures of Mike Butcher, his bulldog Terror, former US Ranger Mother’s Milk, The Frenchman, The Female and new team member wee Hughie. The story is a rollercoaster ride of dark humour, political satire and depravity that would be familiar to readers of Preacher. The series is also a savage indictment of Dick Cheney / Halliburton politics where key politicians are owned by big business. In fact, the series pushed the boundaries so hard DC Comics dropped it like a stone after six issues and Dynamite Entertainment picked it up instead.