Monday, August 26, 2019

The Boys, The Comic

First I watched first season Amazon's The Boys. Then binged the comic. I just had to have more of it. I don't remember if I read comics as fast as this one. It was more because I wanted to see how it ends than because it was best comic I have ever read. And I had injured my leg so I couldn't move that much at the time.

The Boys is CIA's covert ops group whose task is to control superheroes. Everyone has reason to hate superheroes or need to target their violent needs to something. In this world superheroes work for one corporation. Comic book industry keeps up their clean image. They try to do some good at times but must of the times it is sex, drugs and bad behavior.

You get more out of this if you know DC's and Marvel's biggest superhero groups and individual heroes. Most of the heroes we meet are more or less based on those companies' character. Changed enough to avoid courtroom but close enough to say something about the referenced characters.

Amazon's series concentrates on The Seven (Justice League). In comic The Seven is the big price but not the only price. Stories concentrate on Tek-Knight (Batman/Iron-Man), Payback (Avengers), G-Men (X-Men) and other superheroes and superhero groups.

For some reason most stories revolve around sex. It is either having sex or about sexual minorities. Having records of someone having sex can destroy their life and career. Two final stories are less about sex because there are other themes but almost every other story have something sex related. Unless it is about The Boys. Some of the sex related stories are well written where relation to sex makes sense. Others feel like sex is there to make characters look worse.

First half is tight. Every story takes story forward somehow and have something interesting offer. Second half feels they wanted to extend the series. There are those stories where story moves forward to originally planned end. But there are too many filler stories which only offer more background or just jumps away from main story arch. Hughie and Butcher each got their six issue stories. Mother's Milk get two issues for his background. Frenchie and The Female have to do with one. The Boys's history get four issues as does first encounter with The Seven. All these stopped the story moving forward. There was background issues during first half but story moved forward during those issues because telling background wasn't only thing going on. On second half it was more like someone telling what happened before.

I liked main story arch. Some stories were really good. Some were too much superhero bashing. I am surprised how well the whole thing stays together. Sometimes there is extreme violence and other times it is just talking about normal childhood. Maybe that is Garth Ennis' style. This time I liked the theme but it didn't make me want to check rest of his comics. To be honest I probably won't be reading this again any time soon. This time I wanted to see where this goes and enjoyed the ride.

If you wonder will reading the comic spoil Amazon's series I would guess no. Both are different stories. Twist at the end of first season is incompatible with biggest twist of the comic. Series is re-imagination of the comic. Stories are different. A-Train and Deep have character arcs in series. In comics they are there doing very little outside couple events including A-Train but those are far from character arc. Comic doesn't have Translucent. There is no character like him or has his arc in comic. So far series has hit same beat but differently than comic. It doesn't try to redo the comic. Maybe ending is similar but you can expect it after watching the first season.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Boys (2019)

Amazon's The Boys is based on a comic by a guy who really hates superheroes. I mean he loathe superheroes. You understand the level of dislike when you read the comics. I am currently on fifth volume and so far level of dislike has increased all the time. No-one in right mind would put everything in comic to live action tv-series. To be honest what is in comics goes bit too far at times.

In The Boys' universe superheroes are working for corporation. Corporation takes care of them, markets them and makes money on them in any way they can. Superheroes are like real world movie stars and other celebrities. Their imago is that of superheroes of our comics and movies. But things are different behind the scenes,. Corporation takes care of collateral damage. Superheroes are less perfect than their imago.

The Boys are group wanting to take down superheros or supes as they like to call them. Series has two good people Hughie who joins The Boys and Starlight who joins biggest superhero group The Seven. Others can be called bad guys but even bad guys get some positive traits and good story arcs. This is what makes series so good. Even ones you know you should hate has something you can relate or something that makes you feel for the character.

The Boys is dark. It has graphic violence and vulgar language. But it is also really toned down version of the comic. It is why it seems to work for so many people. It has taken the comic in to peaces. Taken the core concepts. Added few memorable scenes and filled rest with other point of view to subject matter. The comic doesn't show superheroes as this complex characters and series doesn't go as far to deep end as comic does.

There are some major differences between comic and series. Comic has own versions of DC's and Marvel's biggest superheroes when series concentrates on The Boys version of Justice League. In series The Boys are normal people. In comics they have superpower and can fight against superheros. This is probably biggest change between the two. Or the biggest is not having The Legend in series. He was probably excluded because he is all about critic of superhero comics and series superhero critique is not as limited to comics as in the comic. Characters are bit different. I liked more of comic's version of The Female. In comics she has need to hurt people. In series she has name and she is confused. Starlight of the series is better than comic version.

I binged the series first. Wanted more of The Boys and checked first volume of the comics. Now I am binging comics. Both have their strengths. I recommend watching the series first because it is more suitable for general audience. If you want more then you should check first volume or first few issues of the comic. But be warned the comic doesn't hold any punches. It has good writing but it goes to extremes at times.