Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
The Boys #53
Ennis, McCrea & Robertson
I dreaded reading the latest issue because the content placed super heroes in World War II. Few creators express as much love for World War II as Ennis, but on the other hand, inserting heroes into the war had me conjuring up visions of Captain America running with his shield as he opens up holes in the German front for Patton’s 3rd. My concerns were completely off base. Not only does Ennis inject heroes into the Battle of the Bulge, but he does so in keeping with the theme of this series while maintaining a level of integrity and reality for the actual events that took place during the war. This was an excellent issue.
This story is told by Mallory to Hughie. Mallory is an old World War II veteran, though he doesn’t look like it, and he’s giving Hughie the account of his first interaction with super heroes. Presumably, this story helps to nudge him into the arena where he wants to control the super hero’s actions as the leader of The Boys.
Mallory is forced to take in a group of super heroes into his command. His troops are thin in ranks and low on supplies. To top it off, they don’t have equipment or firepower to fight the Germans, specifically with their inferior tanks. In the regular comic book world of super heroes, sending in the masks and capes into a situation this dire would have an amazing impact. However, in the “real” world that Ennis is portraying this is an awful idea.
Mallory isn’t sold on this from the start. His concerns are all valid, such as the super heroes not being trained and not being used to following any sort of battlefield protocol as seen when one of them salutes Mallory. Mallory can’t do a thing about the situation and when things go badly we are treated to what war is really like, with or without super hero involvement.
Ennis brings a level of realism to the battlefield but he stays true to the roots of this series. As the fighting unfolds he provides some grim panels that still manage to draw out a smile. Ennis also keeps the super heroes looking like fools, which is perfect for this series.
McCrea brings a level of artwork that is completely different than that of his work on Hitman or even on the Highland Laddie mini series. His art is dark, serious and feels like it comes out of a Time-Life book about World War II. I was pleasantly surprised with his dramatic shift in presentation because it fit the story perfectly.
One of the strengths of this series has been the characters that Ennis created. However, this issue shows that it’s also just simply Ennis’ ability to tell a great story. You really don’t need to know anything about the overall series to enjoy this issue. It’s a great glimpse of what Ennis thinks may have happened had the likes of Captain America actually been in World War II. The book is very entertaining and contains a couple of eye-opening surprises. This is one I definitely recommend.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles