Okay - so I wasn't so kind to the other Ennis title this week. However, The Boys is no post-apocalyptic tale of when everything goes very very wrong. No Happy Tree required today. The Boys is a title that rarely gets it wrong, and this current arc, 'The Self-Preservation Society', is incredibly exciting.
The Boys, the small group of CIA-backed, non-costumed super-powered individuals who keep the costumed Heroes in check, are currently, for the first time in the titles run, on the defensive. The Superheroes are fighting back against the perceived arrogance and immunity that The Boys enjoy. So far, the Female has been badly beaten and is out of the picture. This time around, the super team 'Payback' has been dispatched (as seen in The Boys: Herogasm #2) to deal with Butcher, Hughie, M.M and Frenchie.
It lives up to expectations - a bruising, bloody, incredibly tense battle, especially when Terror, Billy Butcher's dog, gets involved, and finds himself in peril. Visceral and rousing, this is how to stage a big bloody punch-up. If you read The Boys, and you know what Billy Butcher is capable of, then this issue delivers. This is his show, and the rest of The Boys (those that are functioning) have to step back (or in some cases, get carried away). Carlos Ezquerra does another great job with the panels, handling the bruising fight sequences with aplomb (what do you expect from a man who drew Judge Dredd for years?).
Annie is also in this issue, with a dig at the endless 'origin' iterations that seem popular in Superhero titles. Her outfit is what you might expect Ennis to imagine for her if he was the tailor to the Supes. Which in a way, he is.
Another brilliant issue, with a final panel that *damn it* makes me wish I waited for the trade, so I could read it right now.
Verdict. I love this title - and right now its less funny, but more gripping, and the shift in tone proves that The Boys is adept at being both a satirical swipe at Superhero traditions and tropes, and also capably showing how to produce a really gripping Superhero title. 9 out of 10.