The Boys Key Issues – Part 1 – The Boys and the Seven

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A while ago there were reports of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg shopping Garth Ennis' comic The Boys to cable networks. Now, with the news of a confirmed pilot with Cinemax, I decided it was about time we had a definitive spec list of first appearances and key issues.

If you haven't read The Boys, I highly recommend it. The tagline for the series (“out-preachers” Preacher) was proved right and if that's your kind of thing, you will love this.

I have just finished re-reading all seventy-two issues of the main series and the three mini-series. I enjoyed reading it from front to back the second time even more than I did when these series were first published.

The Boys was originally published on Wildstorm, but then cancelled after six issues, as according to Ennis, Wildstorm was uneasy with the anti-superhero tone of the work. The book was shortly picked up by Dynamite, where it stayed until the story was complete after seventy-two issues.

There were also three tie-in mini-series:

  • Herogasm
  • Highland Laddie
  • Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS

1ST APPEARANCES

The Boys

The boys are the main protagonists (Heros?!?) of the story: a CIA backed task force responsible for policing the Superhumans of the world (brutally if necessary!). They also possess super strength due to exposure to Compound V.

The New Guy

Hughie Campbell aka Wee Hughie

1st appearance The Boys #1

wee hughie

The newest member of The Boys and also the main protagonist of the series.

Darrick Robertson based the look of Wee Hughie‘s on Simon Pegg's character Tim in the UK TV show Spaced (it would be great if they got Pegg to play the role, but he may be too old for the role now).

He is invited to join The Boys by Butcher after his girlfriend is killed by A-Train. When he joins the taskforce he will try to be the voice of reason, as he is never really comfortable with the violence that comes with the job. He becomes romantically involved with Annie January aka Starlighter but has no idea she is also the new girl in the Seven.

The Leader

Billy Butcher

1st appearance The Boys #1

butcherButcher is a typical London East End geezer. With no direction in his life and trying to escape from his violent father, he joined the marines and served in The Falklands, where he got his first taste for killing. Upon leaving the Marines, he falls into a malaise of drinking and violence.

This stops when he meets Becky Saunders, who would go on to be his wife.

Her death was the catalyst for Butcher to join the then unnamed CIA team policing the Supes. Shortly after him and Becky return from holiday in Miami Beach, he wakes one night to find his wife disemboweled on the bedroom floor with a superpowered baby still attached by its umbilical cord floating above her body. After killing the baby, Butcher is taken into custody where he is approached by an unnamed man from Vought-America to sign non disclosure papers, otherwise they will make it look as if he had killed his wife (Butcher doesn't respond to this very well and gouges his eyes out!).

Shortly after he is approached by Mallory to join the CIA and help sort out the Supes problem. Mallory also gives him his wife's diary in which he discovers she was raped by The Homelander whilst they were on holiday in Miami. He joins The Boys as part of a two man team with Mallory, delivering justice to the Supes. Their first job is to wipe out an unnamed team of teenage supes in a château (a job that Butcher says helped him get back his sense of humor).

It was Butcher who decided on the name The Boys, as in the East End, if you had a problem with someone, you called in the boys.

He continued to operate as second in command in The Boys along with new members Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female until they are disbanded after the death of Mallory‘s grand-daughters at the hands of the Lamp Lighter.

He took up leadership of The Boys when he was called in by Raynor to start the team back up and replaced Mallory with Wee Hughie as the fifth member.

The Brains

Mother's Milk

1st appearance The Boys #2

mothers milk

Mother's Milk is the only member of the group to be born with compound V, as his Mum worked in a factory that had previously been used as a lab by Vought-America, leading her to become exposed to compound V prior to his birth.

Due to the exposure, M.M‘s older brother was born with severe mental handicaps, and when his powers manifested, he bloated up (like the Blob from the X-Men and died). M.M. flourished, but needed to regularly drink milk from his mother's breast to survive. M.M‘s father worked day and night in his crusade to bring Vought-America to accountability for his son's handicaps and eventually succeeded in suing them and winning in court, but the stress of it all finally killed him.

M.M‘s power first showed while he was in the Army, when he punched his opponent's head clean off during a Boxing match. While in an army compound, he was approached by Butcher and Mallory to join The Boys and give Vought-America the payback he so craved.

The Muscle

The Frenchman

1st appearance The Boys #2

frenchman

The Frenchman is recruited by Butcher after he witnesses him getting in a bar fight with some yuppies after they call him a “g****** surrender monkey and a ‘f***** cheese eater”. He was given an injection of compound V once he joined The Boys.

He is very close to the female and very protective over her.

Female of the Species

1st appearance The Boys #2

female

The Female becomes exposed to a Japanese variant of compound V. Her mother worked at an unnamed Japanese corporation and kept her daughter under her desk at work. The infant female crawled and somehow found her way into a synthetic copy of V Compound. She was discovered by the doctor working on it and promptly tore the skin off his face (one of her signature moves!).

She was then captured, kept locked in a cage and experimented on until she escaped. The corporation sent a heavily armed security team to recapture her, who she took down with little effort. While this was going on, she was taken in by The Boys, and The Frenchman immediately took a shine to her and was the only one who could tame her.

Has selective muteness and spends most of the series not saying anything except the odd word. She also does freelance work for the mob taking down their targets.

Mallory

1st appearance The Boys #49

malary

The founding member of the original incarnation of The Boys and the man responsible for recruiting Butcher.

He set up a task force after the World War when he joined the CIA, as he wanted to keep an eye on the Supes, due to coming into contact with one of the first prototype super teams while on the battlefield. After 9/11, which in the comic Supes are heavily involved with, Mallory tried to blackmail The Seven, which ended in The Lamplighter killing Mallory‘s granddaughter.

To try and resolve the situation, The Seven gave up The Lamplighter to The Boys and Mallory promptly executed him. He does come back, but more on that later!

He disbanded The Boys after this event and retired to Barbary Bay.

He appears off panels and in shadows until his first proper appearance in #49.

The Legend

1st appearance The Boys #7

legend

Works as an informant for The Boys, living out of the basement of Vinnie's Comics. What The Legend doesn't know about the Supes ain't worth knowing.

Formerly a comic book writer/editor who is obviously based on Stan Lee, he worked for Vought writing comics to give the public the impression that Superheroes are . . . super.

Terror

1st appearance The Boys #1

terror

Butcher's dog and constant companion, a loveable British Bulldog.

The Seven Past & Present

In the world of The Boys the Superheroes (Supes) are the bad guys of the story, mainly inept and with no training, who received their power after being given Compound V.

Most are affiliated with Vought-America (the big bad corporation behind most atrocities in the series). None more so than the premier super team The Seven, who are a parody of The Justice League.

Most of The Seven make their first appearance in #3, so in my opinion this is a major key issue.

Homelander

1st appearance The Boys #3

homelanderThe leader of The Seven and the main villain for the series. Homelander is also the nemesis of Butcher, as he is the man responsible for raping his wife and causing her death after getting her pregnant.

He is an obvious parody of Superman.

The government's cover story is that he was an alien that came to Earth, but the truth is he is was created in a Vought-America lab when DNA from Stormfront was injected into him while still a fetus.

Queen Maeve

1st appearance The Boys #3

queen maeveA parody of Wonder Woman, who became an embittered alcoholic with no interest in being an actual superhero after the events of 9/11.

Jack from Jupiter

1st appearance The Boys #3

jack from jupiterA parody of Martian Manhunter, who has a penchant for transsexual prostitutes. That's really all I can say if I want to keep this PG13!

The Deep

1st appearance The Boys #3

the deepA parody of Aquaman, who cannot remove his helmet due to an Atlantean curse. He doesn't play a huge part in the story.

Starlight

1st appearance The Boys #3

starlight

Starlight‘s real name is Annie January, and she joins The Seven after being recruited from the Young Americans. She is a devout Christian who 100% believes that Superheroes are what they are supposed to be (i.e. heroic, virtuous people who do good deeds).

She was quite shocked when the Homelander and A-Train force her to perform a sex act, stating that if she doesn't comply, they will kick her off the team. Again, can't elaborate and keep it PG13!

She soon finds that Superheroes are not what she was lead to believe. They basically live a life of debauchery and are more interested in sponsorship money and merchandising rights than actually doing anything super.

She later meets up with Wee Hughie in Central Park while in her civilian identity and they quickly bond and start a relationship.

Lamplighter

1st appearance The Boys #19

lighter

Lamplighter is a parody on Green Lantern (probably more Alan Scott than Hal Jordan).

He was killed by Mallory after the events of 9/11, but due to the compound V in their system, when killed, Supes come back as mindless, zombie-like shells.

Has a thing about hamsters. Again, I will not elaborate on this!

Black Noir

1st appearance The Boys #3

black noir

Not much is known about Black Noir throughout the series.He is mainly a shadowy character who never speaks.

He is The Seven's equivalent of Batman, but not a straight parody.

We do know he has a signature vehicle he can't operate (The Black Noir Plane).

A-Train

1st appearance The Boys #1

A_Train

The first Supes we meet in the first few panels of The Boys #1. He throws a supervillain straight into the path of Wee Hughie‘s girlfriend and kills her. This sets our story on its path as it makes Wee Hughie join The Boys.

He is a loose parody on the Flash, as he is a speedster.

To wrap this first part up and if you want to keep it simple, the big key issues for The Boys are #1, #2 and #3. The Boys #2 and #3 are still flying under the radar, as most people don't realize these issues contain first appearances of the rest of The Boys. Also, issues #2 and #3 are the first appearances of nearly all the main villains in the series.

COMING NEXT:

Part 2 – Vought America and the Government

 

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