THE BOYS by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson – Volumes 1 to 2

Garth Ennis is a sick man. You may read that as a bad thing, but I don’t necessary mean it that way. I absolutely love what he did with The Punisher in WELCOME BACK FRANK. On the other hand, I couldn’t get into CROSSED after an honest attempt to do so. For me, THE BOYS fell somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.


Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson create a world where super humans are commonplace. Public perception of these super individuals is exactly what comic books normally build them to be – they are idolized, followed, celebrated, and are overall viewed as heroes.

Little does the public know that these super beings are some of the most flawed human that have ever existed. They are obscene and deranged. The majority seem to take their elevated status as a free pass to do whatever raunchy thing they can think of.

In comes “The Boys” – a group of loosely government-contracted people tasked with keeping the supers in line. Enhanced themselves, The Boys are the ones willing to cross lines and smash faces if it means the super humans remember they are not untouchable.

Oh, I nearly forgot my favorite part – SIMON PEGG! Simon Pegg wrote the introduction because his likeness is used for the character Wee Hughie. Reading Hughie’s lines in Simon Pegg’s voice brings some much needed charm to moments of genuine obscenity.

The premise is undeniably unique. It is ripe with Ennis’ crude humor and vibrantly brought to life with Darick Robertson’s visual talent. Certain aspects like supers having corporate sponsors or the interactions between members of the enhanced community are down right clever; I’d never thought of such real-world qualities in the usually pristine comic book hero environment. Overall I liked it a lot but it fell short of ‘loving it’. Enough momentum was generated to make me find the next volume (reviewed below).

My rating of THE BOYS, VOLUME 1: NAME OF THE GAME  is a twisted 6.5 out of 10.

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I won’t spend much time on this one because I was quite disappointed. After things got going in volume one I expected this volume to really run with it. Instead, it seemed to put more effort into being a commentary on gay rights and then communism. Don’t get me wrong – both of those topics are incredibly important. The thing is, I generally want entertainment and geeky glee when I read a comic… NOT social/political commentary.

There were a few bright spots in this let down of a volume. The Russian character “Love Sausage” is hysterical. When he referred to large breasts as his Kryptonite I think I actually snorted out loud. Also, the fully depravity of Tek Knight was entertaining. If I find Volume Three for a good price at my favorite used book store then I’ll definitely pick it up, otherwise, The Boys have fallen lower on my priority list.

My rating of THE BOYS, VOLUME 2: GET SOME is a unfortunately MEH 5 out of 10.

5 out of 10

I’ll throw another half in there because of how much I enjoyed Love Sausage.

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AMERICAN VAMPIRE by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquereque – Volumes 1 to 2

Some of you will immediately say, “why the hell didn’t you add Stephen King’s name in the review title??!!” Sorry about that. It was, however, quite intentional. Stephen King did write a portion of Volume 1 but the vast majority of credit goes to Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquereque for what was created in the two AMERICAN VAMPIRE volumes I’ve been able to read. I’m a huge Scott Snyder fan! What he’s done recently with Batman earns him some major cool points. Rafael Albuquereque is the perfect illustrator for it because of his ability to bring depth and style to every page. Stephen King gets enough props elsewhere; I say let the other guys take a bow! On with the reviews….


Volume one offers a fresh approach to the vampire genre. A new breed of blood sucker is born in the American Wild West. Skinner Sweet is an outlaw turned undead abomination who returns from a claustrophobic and watery grave to get revenge. Sweet’s revenge is made possibly by his accidental exposure to the vampire virus which manifested as a new species in the long vampire line.

He encounters a young actress by the name of Pearl Jones who is later brutalized by a band of vampires who originated in Europe. Sweet infects her with his strain of the vampire virus to save her from a permanent death. Now empowered by this unholy transformation, Pearl embarks on her own path of vengeance against the old world vampires that ruined her human life. She experiences betrayal, spills buckets of blood, and even finds love.

Even though the two characters become the same breed of vampire, they could not be more different. Skinner is like a wildfire that takes no prisoners when Pearl is like a burning candle that is contained yet easily volatile under the right conditions. I personally like Pearl’s character far more because she’s much more unique. She’s sweet, sexy, and lethal (reminds me of my wife).

I really liked this story! It takes someone as adventurous as Scott Snyder to try something new with a topic as oversaturated as vampires. The art is superb; it’s styled just right to give gruesome life to the bloody pages. Honestly the main thing I didn’t like was the Wild West setting – anything remotely in the western genre has never resonated well with me.

AMERICAN VAMPIRE VOLUME 1 is definitely worth your time! Any fan of horror with find it extra appealing.

My rating of AMERICAN VAMPIRE VOLUME 1 is a wickedly fun 7 out of 10.

7 out of 10


Volume two begins with a new decade, the 1930’s, in Las Vegas during the construction of the Hoover Dam. I love this time period (far more than the Wild West) so I was immediately drawn into the story. The center of the story is a murder mystery of sorts that introduces the great character of Chief Cash McCogan. Soon the true horrors of this mystery surface showing a darker side of the bustling city.

It was fun seeing Pearl and her husband on the run while trying to live their anything-but-normal lives. Skinner Sweet’s inclusion was less overbearing this time around so it made for a more varied story. I also love learning about the different species of vampires and how their rise/fall is similar to that of homo sapiens.

In the end I enjoyed volume two more than volume one. I’m eager to get my hands on the WWII-set third volume!

My rating of AMERICAN VAMPIRE Volume 2 is a bloody good 8 out of 10.

8 out of 10

JLA: EARTH 2 by Grant Morrison


JLA: EARTH 2, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely, is one of those books that was on my list for a long time before I actually got around to reading it. I absolutely love alternate history stories! SUPERMAN: RED SON and GUNS OF THE SOUTH are two of my all time favorites. My interest in the alternate themes aside, JLA: EARTH 2 has gathered a respectable amount of hype in the graphic novel circles.

When I finally crossed it off my to-read list was honestly a bit disappointed. Don’t get me wrong – I liked it. Although, with all of the buildup, I expected to love it. That one is on me… I shouldn’t have allowed the hype to expand my expectations beforehand.

The Crime Syndicate of America is a broken-mirror version of the Justice League. Dialogue contributing to this went well overboard to the point of becoming goofy. Similarly, the nuances in the alternate Earth rolled my eyes more than once. (“Satan help us” in place of “God help us” – give me a break)

Now that I’ve aired my grievances, let’s talk about what I liked. I love Owlman! He shares a lot of the same characteristics as Flashpoint’s Batman. Seeing the Flash (Johnny Quick) as a junkie was oddly gratifying as well.

Overall, give this one a read if you’re a JLA/ DC fan. It may not have resonated with me as I expected it to, but it’s still worth the time.

JLA: EARTH 2 still deserves a spot in any DC library collection. I give it a 6 out of 10.

6 out of 10