Author and Illustrations Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson
This is the spoiler full review of The Boys Omnibus collections volumes 4 through 6. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about how intense and graphic this graphic novel is then please visit here.
To catch up with the review for volumes 1-3 please visit here.
After reading the first 3 omnibus volumes of The Boys series I had to take a break. It’s very violent and upsetting and heavy. Many great books are. But I just needed a breather before I went back for more.
The final half of the series continues with the darkness and gets even worse as it progresses. But ultimately I’m glad I stuck with it to the end.
Volume 4 starts with Butcher discovering Hughie and Annie together. He is very surprised to find out Hughie’s been dating a member of The Seven and nobody knew. He sends Hughie on some busy work until he can form a plan.
The Boys have some extremely graphic photos of The Homelander and they intend to use these for blackmail.
As you can see, The Homelander leaves no sin untouched. He eats a freaking baby for crying out loud!
A lot of blackmail will take place in these volumes. A lot.
Annie finally comes out to Hughie as a superhero and he’s furious. He can’t seem to see his hypocrisy in being mad at her for lying. He admits to Butcher what happened and he lets him “accidentally” find the video of Annie aka Starlight being forced to perform oral sex in order to join The Seven.
Hughie cannot handle this revelation and very cruelly dumps her. He flees home to Scotland to find his old loser friends and his adopted parents. He stays here for a good portion of these volumes.
Annie tracks him down and tells her whole story and why she thinks they can make it work. Hughie then comes clean and they have a lot of secrets to overcome.
The rest of the Boys use the photo evidence and Vought American and The Homelander want to make a deal with them. But The Boys’ funding still gets cut. Causing Butcher to blackmail some other people into getting it back.
Blackmail starts to be performed by all sides. A lot of moving pieces are played against each other and people get lost in who is actually responsible. This all leads to a member of The Seven killing Butcher’s dog Terror.
Butcher kills him in retaliation. Turns out Vought actually leaked The Homelander tapes though, not The Boys.
Around this point in the volumes we get a lot of flashbacks and history lessons. Butcher’s life story including what happened to his late wife is pretty tragic. Told by Butcher in his own dead inside words, it’s pretty heartbreaking but doesn’t excuse his current and future behavior.
Back in the present the president is killed in a ludicrous freak accident. This leaves the absolute imbecile Vic the Veep in charge of the Nation. Ahead of Vought’s schedule.
This means everybody needs to speed up all of their plans. Frenchie and The Female go to kill the heads of Vought. Butcher has even more malicious plans.
He’s still upset that Hughie was never fully converted to his violent ways. So he kidnaps the member of The Seven that killed his girlfriend before he joined The Boys. He finally provokes him into killing. Butcher comes off as excessively cruel here. He destroys the last bit of soul Hughie had left.
Annie narrowly escapes Homelander as she finally quits The Seven. Frenchie and The Female strike a deal with the Vought executives when it becomes clear they are all being played by Homelander.
Butcher releases every last piece of blackmail he has to the media. Effectively striking against every entity involved in this war.
This is when the book reveals the last big twist. We discover that a member of The Seven, Black Noir, was created as the anti-Homelander.
He was designed as a failsafe with the sole purpose of killing Homelander if the order is ever given. All he’s wanted to do his whole life is kill Homelander and he hasn’t been able to.
In order to provoke the command to be given he has acted as Homelander doing awful awful terrible evil things. Like the things in the photos. Homelander was aware of some of the things through stories. He thought he’d been blacking out and doing terrible things so he started to just do terrible things while awake too. Cause, fuck it.
But even after Black Noir escalated to eating a live baby (!) the command was never given because Butcher held these photos away from those who could give the command. All because Butcher wanted revenge more than actual justice.
He gets his revenge, he manages to kill Black Noir with the help of a full army. But as with all revenge it’s ultimately meaningless.
The Boys disband for a break since everything is chaos and unmanageable. Annie leaves Hughie saying they can never move past what’s happened.
Butcher, on his own, has weaponized compound V. The chemical that creates superheros. He intends to turn it against them and killl every last superhero.
He starts with Mother’s Milk, his own best friend and member of The Boys. He then blows up Frenchie and The Female. Why? So they won’t stop him.
In the final showdown Butcher goads Hughie into killing him. Hughie was brought onto The Boys as a way to keep Butcher from going all Homelander but Butcher kept trying to corrupt him. It’s all about checks and balances.
In the end politicians continue to be corrupt, corporations continue to be evil, superheros will be brought back, and the status quo remains.
Hughie and Annie reunite to give it one last try. Maybe they’ll get a little bit of happiness in a world where everything still is and likely always will be a capitalist nightmare. Ugh, too real.
For me, that’s what the series boils down to. It’s too real. It’s smart and risky, it’s definitely well written. But I didn’t want to read it. I had a hard time finding anything redemable in almost any of these characters.
Annie was my favorite throughout the whole series. She’s a complex character that I feel was under-used. But I basically hated everyone else and I have a hard time wanting to read about characters I hate.
But art transcends my feelings of dislike. I dislike most people, that’s just the way it is. For the ultimate story of absolute power corrupting absolutely you really can’t beat The Boys.
Volumes 4 and 5: 3/5 noir people 👤👤👤
Volume 6: 5/5 noir people 👤👤👤👤👤
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