Comic Picks By The Glick

The Boys vol. 8: Highland Laddie

April 14, 2011

After the trauma of finding out that his girlfriend was a superhero, the awful thing she had to do to join The Seven, and their subsequent breakup, Hughie decides that it’s time to head back home to Auchterladle, Scotland to get away from it all. However, he finds out in short order that not only A) you can’t go home again, but B) you can’t really get away from it all, and C) especially when it comes looking for you. So while Hughie would’ve liked to have spent the time re-bonding with his old, smelly, and newly transvestite friends, he winds up embroiled in a plot to unload drugs spiked with Compound-V, the superhero catalyst, in his hometown and having a fresh trauma re-visited at the same time.

On the surface, this volume is strewn with the kind of eccentric characters and bathroom humor that characterizes so much of writer Garth Ennis’ work. I’ll admit that some of this stuff was pretty funny, such as Hughie’s childhood trauma in an airplane cockpit, but if you’ve grown tired of this schtick then what’s here won’t change your mind. Fortunately, the strong character work that was the best part of the previous volume is continued here as this volume does give us a better understanding of the least confrontational and violent member of The Boys. The scenes where his relationship issues are worked out are a particular highlight and you come away from this volume thinking that it’s not necessarily such a bad thing that he’s not as bloodthirsty or demented as his teammates.

Even though this was originally presented as a mini-series, it still feels like a continuation of the main story. That’s due in part to the flashbacks with Butcher and Mother’s Milk, but mainly due to the surprise that’s dropped in the last few pages of this collection. Not only does it cast a new light on certain parts of this volume, but it also indicates that we’ll be hearing from the “missing” member of the team very soon. After what has come before, I’m very much looking forward to seeing where that’s going to take us.

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