In a world much like our there is a corrupt multinational corporation called Vought-American who in the 1930's acquired the scientist who invented a serum called Compound V that would give normal humans superpowers. By refining it into an incredibly pricey substance they were able to create the ultimate superhero "The Homelander" the most powerful on the planet. Vought created more, giving the world "The Seven" all part of their long game plan to get superheroes employed in national defence. A plan which also involves replacing the President of the USA with his dimwit VP, who will then push the plan through. Over the years COmpound V leaked into the enviroment and more "supes" were born. One was a woman called Annie January - hero name "Starlight" - who recently became a member of The Seven to replace a dead former member. She was in a relationship with a man called Hughie Campbell who didn't know she was a supe. And she didn't know he worked with four other people, Billy Butcher, Mother's Milk, The Frenchman and The Female. Known collectively as "The Boys", their job is to police the supes and smack them down if they get out of line, as they have superstrength and resiliance too. When Billy Butcher discovered their relationship he played Hughie the tape of Annie performing a reluctant sex act on three of The Seven to stay in the group and this led to him breaking up with her and fleeing back to his hometown in Scotland. Annie went after him and they made up. During his time there he also met an a man who turned out to be the mysterious "Mallory" leader of The Boys Mk.1. This collection contains three four issue arcs, which Billy starts moving the pieces on the board into their endgame positions as well as providing background on the creation of The Boys.
This post is part two of the collection. It contains the final two parts of "Barbary Coast" and all four issues of "The Big Ride".
BARBARY COAST [cont] - After the War Mallory felt he had no place anywhere. He told his friends about what he saw and his friend say he wants people to work for him that are "Young and hungry". Mallory says he was "angry", but his friend tells him that'll do and thats how Mallory started to join the newly formed CIA. Mallory says however they dressed up their reasons for starting the CIA:
Mallory: "...dress it up how you like. As a debt collected towards better time. As protection for the future against repeat afflictions. The meaning we had chosen was revenge."
|The Avenging Squad return...|
Mallory: "Anyone mentioning supes in national defence when they saw these guys would have been laughed out the door... But I watched them worming their way into popular culture. Wrapping the flag around them tight. And all I can think is this is going some where."
He was in Vietnam and witness the aftermath of the massacre of Ia Drang thanks to V.A.C's shitty gun. Bobby Kennedy came after them and they dropped out of sight only to resurface three years later as Vought-American and with The Homelander (see book three for more info). The Legend deliberately appeared at a memorial service (his son was killed at Ia Drang), Mallory says:
Mallory: "... the first one. Not the bastard whelp he spawned with Queen Maeve"
(Blarney Cock, who Hughie accidentally killed in book one). The Legend turned out to be a goldmine of information on Vought. So Mallory decided to do something about it. He kidnapped Vogelbaum, leaving a corpse with a similar build and slashed wrists to make it look like he'd committed suicide. He put Vogelbaum to work, making a stable for of Compound V for them. This was in secret, only his direct superior knew.
|Mallory can't bring himself to kill Vogelbaum|
Mallory: "I started looking for candidates, and it wasn't long before I came across Butcher."
Mallory says he can Hughie very little about Butcher he doesn't already know. Hughie sys he told him about his wife almost immediately. Mallory says it was just a way to get Hughie to stay. He was born in London in 1965. Joined the marines and fought in the Falklands war. Got wounded, and came back. Ended up being court martialled and kicked out after a series of violent assaults. Which stopped after he met his wife. One brother, who died in an accident. Mother died recently, father still alive. Hughie asks if it was a younger brother, it was, which means Billy was lying to him from the start.
Mallory: "I wanted people who lived, breathed, ate and dreamed this thing".
President Dakota Bob covertly supported them. It was probably him who contacted Billy about restarting The Boys. With Butcher he has wanted an N.C.O, but Butcher was pure officer material. He even came up with the name of their team. They added Mother's Milk, Frenchie and The Female and subtley their mission changed from itelligence gathering to more violent suppression.
|And just like that, they were so named.|
Billy: "As the old saying goes. With great power comes the total fuckin' certainty that you're gonna turn into a cunt."
Mallory says he spent the next year trying to avoid the ramifications of what he had created. Then 9/11 happened. They confronted The Seven, the Lamplighter killed his grandaughters and they agreed a truce with Vought. The call from Rayner to disband The Boys was a blessing. He says his crime was to give Billy a war. One where he can mete out brutality to those who hurt him and never have it end. When he told Billy about wrapping up the loose end of Vogelbaum, Billy went into his house to kill him and came out and spat a lump of flesh on the ground.
Mallory: "There is no one on earth who hates like that man does."
|Billy off to rip out Vogelbaum's throat. Nice.|
Hughie: "You just sit out here on your coast. Carry on lookin' the past in the eye and' feelin' clean."
He leaves and rejoins Annie. He tells her exactly what he does for a living and that he wants her to go somewhere safe because trouble is coming. He can't stand the though of her getting hurt:
Hughie: "Because I love you. No matter what goes on between us. I still love you."
|Finally the truth from Hughie's side.|
Mallory: "So why don't you do me a favour and get it over with?"
And that concludes part two of "Barbary Coast".
THE BIG RIDE - The arc begins with Hughie, back in New York and psyching himself up to go into The Boys' HQ. Then Billy comes out and says hello, you coming with me? In the taxi, he shows Hughie a photo of a dead transexual, who was beaten to death. They are off to Doc. Peculiar who runs a brothel catering exclusively to supes, because it was one of his workers and Jack From Jupiter has a fetish for them. He likes to say his magic word, which renders him invincible then gets gang-banged by a group of pre-op transwomen.
|Hughie with the wind out of his sails.|
On The Seven's base, Jack From Jupiter is protesting his innocence. Vought alerted them about this via email. Jack says none of them have any right to sit in judgement over them. The Deep starts to say how this is bad timing with the Homelander's plan due to be set in motion soon, but The Homelander shuts him down, warning they're probably still bugged.
The Homelander: "Whether you killed this creature or not is moot... just keep a low profile and pray the police investigation goes nowhere. In the meantime, try to keep away from any cocks that aren't your own."
Hughie leafs through Queen Maeve's file, while Billy checks Jack's. He was there the night it occured, but not with the victim. And the times don't match up. Hughie says it sounds dodgy. Billy agrees. He says Jack isn't built for offence: "me evil cunt sense is tingling". They leave the records room and Hughie surreptitiously tucks Queen Maeve's file in his waistband.
They go to leave the establishment and Hughie notices a carving of Monkey's (Kessler) head being assaulted by two monkeys. Which happened when Rayner first took over and sent him along as an official observer. "Hughie, it was the fuckin' funniest thing I've ever seen in my life mate" says Billy.
|Monkey attacked by Monkeys.|
She asks why they don't run away together, he feels he's in too deep now. He complains about Billy undermining him all the time, seh asks why he doesn't confront him about it and what's really going on: "Because I'm afraid to ask" he admits.
Annie: "I don't want to piss you off, I'm not trying to catch you in a contradiction...You said you thought you should keep an eye on things, but you're also afraid to investigate the situation. Does that mean for you to just wait and let stuff happen?"
Hughie: "Well that certainly sounds like me, aye. Keep everythin' neat and tidy until it falls apart."
They discuss how Billy set Hughie up to watch the tape of Annie in a compromising postion. He wonders how she feels about having been under surveillance the whole time. She doesn't care, she hates the rest of The Seven bar Queen Maeve then she holds out her hand to him and invites him into bed with her, "just to sleep." Later that night Queen Maeve takes the bugs out of The Seven's base and tosses them out of the bay door.
|Hughie and Annie are the cutest couple ever.|
With the bugs out, Frenchie and The Female are at a bit of a loose end. Frenchie asks if they shouldn't be going after Jack hard. But Billy doesn't like how convinient this reason to have a go at The Seven is.
Billy: "I wish I could get it out of my head that we're all bein' taken for a ride."
MM takes Hughie to lucnh to fill him in on what happened while he was away. Hughie says he spoke to Mallory. MM says he set it up the way he did because of the situation between Billy and Mallory. MM asks him why he came back now he knows what he knows. Hughie says he wonders that too, and how he keeps asking questions and backing off before he gets proper answers.
Hughie: "Are we good or are we bad. I mean what are we?"
MM says at some point Hughie has to shit or get off the pot and go "completely fuckin' crazy" to deal with it. Hughie spots Frenchie and The Female and points out they were crazy from the start.
Mother's Milk: "Shit, who knows what the hell's goin' on in those two little heads."
|Billy and Hughie are pretending to be UK policemen on exchange again.|
Tabitha: " So when did you develope this impression...? When the two of you were giving him double anal. Did he seem like he liked her a little bit better?"
They have an argument, while Hughie notes they keep getting evidence they need to nail Jack easily. Billy then gets Doc. Peculiar to check Madeline for needle marks and when they find some, Billy says it's time to fill her up with a syringe full of junk and get the truth.
Later in Hughie's hotel room he is reading Queen Maeve's file and finds a transcript of when the Homelander set Queen Maeve up to have sex with Black Noir. She was blindfolded and The Homelander and Black Noir are the same build so she didn't find out until afterwards much to her outrage and disgust.
Billy is chatting with The Legend. He tells him that Madeline had made the story up, she'd been paid ten grand to do so. He wonders who beats a transexual to death to frame Jack? Who wants The Boys on a collision course with The Seven?
Billy: "That's the part that makes no sense. Nobody wins that one."
Billy then asks The Legend why Queen Maeve got rid of the bugs. She got scared, says The Legend. Billy says she better put them back in or he'll ring Vought and tell them what she's been up to. The Legend is protective of Maeve, but Bily says she puts the bugs back in or he meets her in person, "un-fuckin'-negotiable". In Hughie's hotel room, a naked Annie is weighing herself and Jamie the hamster. He weighs a pound now. She starts to seduce him, but before it gets too far his phone rings, summoning to Boys HQ.
Jack: "I mean how much shit are you ready to eat for these fucks?"
At Boys' HQ, they are getting ready for a confrontation with The Seven, even though they weren't the ones who leaked the footage. Hughie is somewhat fearful, but they all go up on the roof to meet them, apart from Billy's dog Terror who he tells to wait for him in their operation's room. They wait on top of the buildings roof and The Seven fly down to meet them.
In the gap between issue's, Billy tells The Homelander he didn't leak the footage "He's telling the truth" says The Homelander. Jack starts freaking out, but The Homelander can detect the changes in breathing and heartbeat that come with lying and that hasn't happened with Billy. Jack says he's going to kill them anyway, but The Homelander shuts him down. A rage filled Jack flies off, yelling "you dicks!" The Deep asks it they should not team up to find out who tried to provoke a confrontation between them. "Don't be a cunt all your life" responds Billy and The Seven leave. The Boy's decide to go for steaks to celebrate not dying.
|A confrontation only postponed...|
Hughie: "All of you stop fuckin' laughin' at me!"
He then takes Billy to task for calling the transwomen "trannies" and "ladyboys", he says he hates that lack of respect, the same as when they investigated the murder of a gay man (see book two), who was killed by Swingwing. Billy then reveals he killed Swingwing by sabotaging his jetpack. Hughie says this is exactly the problem, never being told exactly what's going on. Billy says he'll try and stop undermining Hughie and they return to HQ.
|Oh poor Terror :(|
Billy: "S'cuse me boys. I've gotta see a man about a dog."
We then cut to Jess Bradley on the phone to Stillwell saying she may have oversteppe her authority trying to force a confrontation between The Boys and The Seven. Stillwell says no harm done and that Jack in "eminently replaceable". He praises her initiative and ambition.
Stillwell: "It was a good plan, well executed. Just poorly timed."
His only qualm was her leaking the footage of Jack to the wider media. But he still calls her "vital" and ends the call.
At Doc. Peculiar's, Billy surprises Jack and grabs his neck so he can't say his magic word. Then he stabs Jack with a huge knife and starts to slowly disembowel him. All the time repeating over and over: "Why'd you kill me dog, Jack?" Then he says the oddest thing:
Billy: "It ain't me son. I'm somewhere else watchin' it happen."
Then he returns to repeating "why'd you kill me, dog?" And the volume comes to a close.
|Scratch one of The Seven.|