The Boys #59 – By Garth Ennis & Russ Braun

The top of my to-read pile is a hotly contested place. What is there one month can easily be gone the next as the different series on my spinning order all vie to be king of the hill. Every once in a while though a series steps up & produces an issue so good that it ensures itself a place on the top spot for months to come. Such is the case with issue 59 of The Boys.

To be fair to anyone who hasn’t read an issue of The Boys before believe me when I say that this issue is not a jumping on point. Being that the series is a mere 2 arcs away from its conclusion anyone attempting to understand the relationships & motivations surrounding this latest issue will find themselves well & truly befuddled. Those who have been with the story since its inception however should be prepared to run a gauntlet of emotion as the latest arc, “The Big Ride” reaches its monumental finish. While Ennis has always had a flair for creating over the top glorified gorified scenes that would make even the human centipede feel a tad queasy, his real talent lies in his ability to counterbalance this with very real down to earth emotional moments that keep the reader grounded even when half the cast of a book are very literally in the air. This issue in particular sees Ennis play to those strengths as he continues to tease out the looming confrontation between The Boys & The Seven, choosing to avoid it at the last minute & instead use the time to further develop the tensions that have been brewing within the titular team itself.

I’ve mentioned before how I think The Boys is a family book in the sense that it’s about the camaraderie between the lead characters & how important these relationships are to them. However families are often about taking the rough with the smooth & much like any other family certain members of The Boys are not entirely happy with certain others under the surface. This is very much the focus for the opening part of this issue as Ennis deftly manipulates some wonderful character development out of a post dinner conversation. The dialogue in here reads beautifully on a number of different levels in a way that’s usually reserved for Disney movies. While at first Hughie seems to be the main focus of issue, this changes at roughly the halfway mark as Ennis switches angles & starts on Butcher leading the issue into much more interesting, & somewhat disturbing territory. That is not to say that the other characters are ignored. MM & The Frenchman make some interesting contributions around the point where the floater coffees usually get delivered, while the female gets the most gut wrenching moment of the entire issue on page 11. While other reveals happen along the way the issues strengths lie solidly within its final scenes as it wanders down roads less travelled & leads the audience somewhere very dark & nasty indeed delivering a moment that ranks amongst the series finest so far.  A family book it may be but the finale of this run is most certainly not family viewing.

While The Boys has never lost sight of its endgame as a book it would be fair to say that it has still seemed like slow going at certain points across the last five years. There have been highs & there have also been a few lows, but this is to be expected with a series that was planned to run for near as 70 issues. # 59 is definitely amongst the highest of the series highs however. The end is now clearly in sight for Butcher, Hughie & the gang & it’s good to know that even this close to the end the book can still surprise you when it wants to. Ennis is clearly done setting up the dominoes now & with issue 59 he defiantly knocks the first one down. Over the next few months the rest will be sure to follow & The Boys can pretty much guarantee that it will be at the top of my too read pile for all of them.