Reviewing Comix - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Reviewing Comix

Reviewing Comix

Published August 5, 2009

BOY OH BOY OH BOY!
The Boys, Volumes 1-4
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
For a while now, Belfast born Preacher creator Garth Ennis has been entertaining superhero-haters and lovers alike with his ültraviolent and borderline pornographic series, The Boys. It follows Wee Hughie, a sensitive Scottish conspiracy nut whose girlfriend becomes collateral damage in a superhero fight, splattered to death in front of his bare eyes. Traumatized by his loss, Hughie turns to depression and bongs. Enter Billy Butcher, a tough-as-nails Englishman who heads a CIA backed keeping-superheroes-in-line unit. Butcher recruits Hughie into his small team and introduces him to the other members:”Mother’s Milk”, an African American no-bullshit second-in-command; “The Frenchman,” a Frenchman who can kick ass; and “The Female,” a mute girl who can kick ass and crush skulls and rip off faces.
    The Boys’ job is simple. They are to catch a corrupt “supe” in the act so that they can commit violence on their bodies. The supes being kicked around here have their mainstream counterparts, of course. One story focuses on Tek Knight, an Ironman/Batman spoof, and another introduces the G-men, an X-men parody. Ennis mixes these familiar superhero types into a dark and dirty reality (a common post-Watchmen practice). There’s lots of social criticism and political commentary here, but if you’re a true Ennis fan, you’re here for blood and toilet-jokes, of which you’ll find aplenty.
    It’s not Ennis’ best work since Preacher (that would be his run on Max’s The Punisher), but it’s a lovely read. The characters are funny and the dialogue is feckin’ dog’s bollocks. And the reliable Robertson does his best drawing job since Transmetropolitan, so all-in-all The Boys is good, unclean fun. – Hugleikur Dagsson

PALOMAR’S FINEST
Human Diastrophism
Gilbert Hernandez
Human Diastrophism is the second novel of a trilogy by the talented Gilbert Hernandez. The stories were originally published in the highly recommended Love and Rockets series, written and illustrated by Gilbert and his brother Jaime. The book is divided into a few stories but all of them evolve around the small Central American town of Palomar and its inhabitants.
    Human Diastrophism gets its name from the centre story of the book. A serial killer is on the loose in Palomar. Adding to the town’s problems is a weird plague of crazy chattering monkeys that run around causing general unpleasantness.
    Luba and her daughters live in Palomar and are the main characters of these stories, but almost every single one of the townspeople gets their fifteen minutes of fame. This becomes a bit confusing because there are so many of them, but thankfully Hernandez made a special cast of characters page for the reader. Nevertheless, flipping back and forth all the time gets annoying after a while.
    Gilbert’s strength lies in his characters and drawing skills and, like most things arty or indie, the stories have their share of sex and violence. This makes it kind of uncomfortable to open the book in confined public spaces such as airplanes, trains, buses or on a bench next to a stranger. Every other page is filled with violence and sex and it is awkward when you discover that the person next to you is looking over your shoulder judging you. Hmm… on second thought maybe that’s not a very common problem… ehhh who cares anyway, we are all going to die from swine flu and public places will probably be banned in the near future.
    Welps, here is a list of things that are great about this book: Family drama, monkey killings, huge jugs, bad parenting, a serial killer, amputations, burnt skin, adultery, violence, beautiful women with strong legs aaand lesbians. In other words you won’t be bored or disappointed. It’s a keeper. – Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir

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