The first bad day. Just the first.
There have been a number of memorable scenes since The Boys debuted at Wildstorm back in 2006 before the series was hastily dumped and picked up by Dynamite Entertainment six issues later. Some have been surprisingly touching, others excessively violent, but most of them just downright shocking.
As writer Garth Ennis prepares his final two Boys storylines, he wraps up "The Big Ride" with an incredibly powerful conclusion. After several issues of backstory and character introspection, Ennis finally takes two players off the board, ramping things up in what should be one hell of a showdown between The Boys and The Seven.
Or what's left of them.
The issue starts out with Seven member Jack From Jupiter, the team's Martian Manhunter analogue, losing his shit over some incriminating footage of his unsavory exploits being leaked. Jack thinks The Boys are responsible for ruining his public persona, but he's told by the Homelander that Butcher isn't lying when he says The Boys aren't responsible. Someone, it seems, is attempting to start the inevitable war between the two sides and there's obviously far more going on behind the scenes than we know at the moment. What follows is a brutal series of events, starting with Wee Hughie unleashing his increasing anger and frustration with Butcher's treatment of him. Just when the conversation is about to go too far, though, Hughie retreats and the matter is dropped. And then you turn the page and BOOM, the shit officially hits the fan.
Russ Braun does an excellent job selling these key plot points, giving Butcher's confrontation with Jack the intensity it deserves. I still find myself missing Boys co-creator Darick Robertson on the interior art, but Braun's work feels like a blend of Robertson and frequent Ennis partner Steve Dillon, which complements Ennis' scripts nicely. It helps that he draws such an imposing version of Butcher, who is now even more emotionally damaged and dangerous after the events in this issue.
And now the war between The Boys and The Seven escalates. At this point, you have some idea of how things are probably going to go, but I get the distinct feeling that Ennis hasn't played all his cards yet. If nothing else, it certainly won't be dull.