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The Boys #54 Full Recap and Review: Live as it happens!

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  • The Boys #54 Full Recap and Review: Live as it happens!

    Just got my copy, so for the first time ever: a page-by page recap, as I read it!

    The Cover:
    Doesn't really do much for me. Basically screams "yet more battlefield crapola that I couldn't possibly care less about." I've read the spoilers, Garth. The Germans lose.

    Note: contrary to popular belief, Hitler was NOT killed by a group of actors led by Brad Pitt.

    Page 1:
    Back on the set of "Deliverance", Cockney Joe Mallory and a cardboard cutout of Hughie are recounting Cockney Joe's thrilling days of sitting around doing nothing after the war. Much stilted dialog ensues. Mallory apparently ran into a friend of his, one "Rick Burnham." Like Hughie (or I) give a flying f**k about the name of some minor character who won't ever matter to the story. Mallory continues to speak in completely stilted, artificial style that sounds exactly like narration. Let the pain end, please. And to think there was a time, (many years ago, to be sure) when I actually thought Mallory might turn out to be interesting. Turns out he's just Basil Exposition from the Austin Powers movies. I shall now go read Page 2.

    A young Mallory as seen in this 1845 stock photo.

    Page 2:
    The cardboard cutout of Hughie asks Mallory to explain why he owns a private island that looks like the Evil Villain lair from a James Bond movie. Mallory explains that his family "is rich". Yeah, I guess that explains why he ended up a grunt during the Battle of the Bulge. Here's an idea, Ennis: If you realize that a plot element is ridiculously stupid and therefore requires explanation, just don't include it. Nobody forced you to portray Mallory as Goldfinger. You wrote that yourself. You could have just as easily of had them meeting in a trailer park. Anyway, Mallory continues his story about how nobody would listen to the wartime tales of the war hero son of an incredibly rich family. Because it was so hard for rich white males to make a difference in 1950's America. So he hooks up with a bunch of other under-appreciated rich white men, and... holy sh*t, when did Garth Ennis become Ayn Rand?

    Ennis at Comic Con in 2006.

    Time for a bio-break, then Page 3!

    Pages 3, 4, and 5:
    Mallory continues to whine about how disappointed he was to learn that people die during wars. Because obviously, in a war held the proper way, there would be no casualties.

    Page 6:
    I had to go back a few times to make sure that I hadn't lost half the book somewhere. Page 6 is completely inexplicable. It's a flashback through the past few years of The Boys. I have no idea why. It ends with one of the stupidest scenes in the entire run of the book, and that's really saying something for this title: Mallory tells us that it's not the war he blames for killing all those American soldiers: it's VA and the Supes. That's retarded even by Herogasm standards. Not the concept, mind you, the implementation. Ennis has never given us any reason to believe that the Supes were anything more than comedy relief during the war. It's just moronic. Mallory blames the Supes because they showed up just in time to be killed during the Battle of the Bulge? Really?

    Page 7:
    We are now living in a world where everyone knows about Supes, but nobody knows about Supes. Mallory tells us that nobody believes his stories about flying men. Uh... really? Even though VA was already promoting them via comic books? And even though we're supposed to believe that the Supes were single-handidly responsible for every American soldier who died in WW2? Welcome to Planet Stupid.

    Page 8:
    I have no idea what's going on now. Ennis is creating and disbanding "secret organizations" at the rate of three-per-panel now, and none of them are even remotely interesting or relevant to the story. All those people he just spent four pages telling us about? Gone. They don't matter any more. In fact, pretty much nothing that Mallory has spent the past two issues blathering on about appears to matter from this point forth. We're on to a new, equally pointless story arc!

    Page 9:
    I realize this is going to be a painful, awful experience when Mallory says "At this point I should talk a little bit about spies and teams and special forces." No dumbass, you should not. Holy shit. This is just gawdawful. Ennis... uh, "Mallory" then takes the time to be condescending, and explain to us hapless morons in the audience that spies don't really look like Sean Connery. Well gosh-gee-willikers, Mr. Ennis. I never would have guessed. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I guess that's why you're an honest-to-goodness professional writer, because you know all kinds of insider info that the rest of us would never be privy too.

    Not actually a spy.

    Page 10:
    Ennis goes all Meta on us now, and has Mallory describe how Fiction writers always use dumb cliches about paramilitary teams, and then proceeds to give an exact description of The Boys. At least I hope he's going all meta. There was a time when I would have assumed Ennis was being clever, but at this point I'm at least a tiny bit worried that he's being unintentionally ironic.

    Page 11:
    Wow, the sitting and talking just never end. Ennis graces with his views on military strategy. This is just painfully bad. I'm almost wishing there were some dildos or dog-rape just to cut the tedium. Apparently Mallory realizes this too, because he promises to bring the narrative "back on track". This is just strange. I'm beginning to expect a cut-scene where Ennis himself apologizes for inflicting this mind-numbing horsecrap on us.

    Page 12:
    Payback shows up in their first incarnation, minus Stormfront. Mallory freaks out, because... the plot requires him to. The problem is that Ennis did such a half-assed job last issue that there's no real way to explain why Mallory is so upset.

    You know, I can't do the page-by-page thing anymore. It's killing me. Let's do this the old-fashioned way:

    If you want to be able to continue reading this book with ANY sort of self-respect, do NOT select the text below. In fact, don't read page 18 when you get your copy. Just don't do it.
    *major spoiler:Blarney Cock is the bastard son of the Legend and Maeve.*

    Wow. It turns out it's a good thing I recapped this page at a time, as I read it. I honestly couldn't have done this had I seen page 18 before I started. Seriously. *sigh* I really can't finish. I just can't do it. I know the last third of the book is left, but Ennis has achieved the impossible: he's written a scene more retarded than anything ever written by Frank Miller.
    Last edited by Kamakazi; 05-06-2011, 03:05 PM.

  • #2
    Well, Mallory is what? About 90 years old? so I figure

    The bit about Ennis being worse than Miller... it send a chill down my spine. Then I farted. Then my girlfriend got pissed off because I awoke her up with my noisy fart. The she started licking my face. Then I woke up and realised I have no girlfriend and it was my cat licking my face. Then I woke up for real and my girlfriend (she was real this time!) told me to stop fooling around and go back to sleep.


    • #3
      I'd take a bullet for you, saidestroyer.


      • #4
        I fear Mallory's story is going where no story should go: an useless complication aimed to make a series of events "interesting". Woefully wrong move.

        Take the premise: young Mall sees his battalion slaughtered thanks to a bunch of costumed idiots, and swears revenge on the corrupted corporation that allowed that.

        Simple and strong.

        Now, how can a skilled author like Ennis develop this premise?

        If I were him, I'd taken the down and dirty way. Make Mallory a bitter veteran haunted by nightmares about his fallen comrades. Have him fight his battle with every mean necessary. Let's see him worm his way up the CIA, betray colleagues, hijack missions, selling his soul to the devil, just to have VAC and the supes gone; let's see him dangerously prone to become one of the inhuman monsters he's trying to fight and not realize it.
        Hey, Ennis is the guy who wrote Unknown Soldier, Punisher, Fury and an endless number of excellent stories precisely about this theme; don't tell me I'm asking too much from him.

        So, the hell with "Mallory: agent of CIA". Instead of seeing the U.S. too busy fighting the Cold War to care for supes, why doesn't Mall provoke accidents with the Commies just to unfold the Evil Supe Conspiracy? Instead of flying to Vietnam and discovering VAC did it again, why don't have Mall knowing exactly that those goddamned rifles won't work, do nothing about it, and make those soldiers awfully killed on purpose, just to expose VAC?
        Instead of having him feel bad for Vogelbaum and make him work for the CIA, why doesn't he just bust a cap into the old fart and then steal the last supply of compound V for him and the Boys?

        And then, why don't we discover the Boys aren't CIA backed at all, it was just Mallory's private war on the world?
        And in the end the pupil (Butcher) outsmarts the teacher, hijacks his work in turn and fires the old veteran, who is now defeated twice and sees in Hughie his last chance to do something right. Is it too cheap?

        The worst part is I can see Ennis trying. There is something of my ideal plot in "the Barbary Coast". It's just... half-assed.
        Last edited by Boris; 05-07-2011, 01:32 PM.


        • #5
          I can't really disagree with any of you.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
            I'd take a bullet for you, saidestroyer.
            It's the internet, man. It messes your head, you know?


            • #7
              Originally posted by Boris View Post
              I fear Mallory's story is going where no story should go: an useless complication aimed to make a series of events "interesting". Woefully wrong move.

              Take the premise: young Mall sees his battalion slaughtered thanks to a bunch of costumed idiots, and swears revenge on the corrupted corporation that allowed that.

              Simple and strong.

              The worst part is I can see Ennis trying. There is something of my ideal plot in "the Barbary Coast". It's just... half-assed.
              Boris, the more I think about it, issue 53 was only a "set up" for what Innis feels is the REAL meat of the "cloak and dagger" Mallory history: The development of the CIA during the cold war... Bad Men trying to stop other foreign Bad Men from killing Good Americans... or sumptin' like that

              It appears the destruction of Mallory's unit was a simple plot device to get to the more complicated and "interesting" back story of the man who created the boys... Unfortunately, the story of "Greg Mallory and his Howlin' Commandos" is truly the MOTIVATION for all of Mallory's subsequent actions... The CAUSE and EFFECT relationship between Mallory meeting VAC "heroes" and his unit being wiped out by Nazis a few hours later should have been MUCH stronger...

              I was left with one nagging question: "Would the scenario have been any different if VAC had NOT been involved?" Now, I know VAC supplied the new crappy tanks the Americans had, right? But, the supes themselves were little more than more cannon fodder... MAYBE a couple fliers were seen... But, the way things were presented, Mallory's unit would have been caught off guard by the German advance anyway...

              The other Bad Men in the room who started the CIA secret cold war had no VAC or supes to blame for the horrors they experienced in WWII... And if Mallory TRULY blamed VAC and wanted revenge, the re-emergence of supes would have made Mallory act more along the lines of Butcher in his desire, not to regulate, but to terminate!

              Basically, Boris, I agree with you!

              Oh, I did like that Maeve was revealed as the mama of Blarneycock... Now we know why The Legend got to be THE LEGEND... He lived every fanboy's dream!


              • #8
                Next issue, Mallory reveals who was behind the Twin Towers attack!



                • #9
                  Oh, I liked it fine. I'm still confused about whether V-A is able to still produce "V", or if they are dependent upon old stores and scooping up whatever strays get exposed to it (aka Annie's story). Of course, there is still the question of where the illicit stuff comes from- hijacked from V-A, or cooked in "labs".

                  WRT our heroes, it seems that Ennis has set the big internal conflict as: Butcher wants revenge against supes, and one supe in particular. Mallory has his revenge against his one particular nemesis, Lamplighter, and found it unfulfilling. His anger is focused on V-A, and that is who he wants to shut down. Does V-A realize they can flip Butcher by offering him the Homelander?