The Boys - The Name of the Game Review, and why you should read this comic!

The Boys: The Name of Game Review - Animated Apparel Company

Copyright by Dynamite.

The Boys has become one of the hottest properties this year after the release of the TV adaptation of British writer Garth Ennis’s comic, gaining thousands of fans in the process and positioning it as one of the best adaptations of the last couple of years. So it’s a great opportunity to look back on the source material with The Name of the Game, the first comic book storyline of this franchise.

In many ways, The Boys is Ennis’s most important and representative work of his career, showing in a very clear manner his perceptions and criticism of the superhero genre (something he has never been too silent about) and telling a dark, unapologetic and fascinating story of what a world with superheroes would be like.

The Name of the Game is not only the first couple of issues of The Boys, but it’s also a great example of a writer having full creative control and unleashing his mind.

What is The Name of the Game?

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The world is filled with thousands of superheroes but things don’t seem to be getting better. Actually, it’s only getting worse with superheroes becoming more and more chaotic in their battles, not caring about the consequences and the effect they have on normal people and civilization as a whole. Along with this, many superhero teams, such as The Seven, work as brands with sponsors and TV commercials, often hiding their hedonistic behaviors like orgies and drug addiction  from the public eye.

In this scenario, Butcher, a British man supported by the American government, gathers his old team that deals with superheroes when they step out of line, simply called The Boys. For this particular comeback, a man named Hughie, who recently lost his girlfriend due to a superhero fight against a villain, joins Butcher’s team and he begins to see the truth behind the superhero business.

How was it?

The Boys: The Name of Game Review - Animated Apparel Company



Copyright by Dynamite.

Garth Ennis has never hidden the fact that while he loves comic books, he is not a fan of the superhero genre and doesn’t like many of the tropes that defined this concept, which has become the basis for this comic and it shows quite clearly with The Name of the Game: we’re introduced to a world were superheroes are not really heroes, but rather are brands, selfish, entitled and profoundly uncaring about human life as a whole, with The Boys serving as the ones that can put an end to them in many ways and work as a contrast to the degeneration that we see throughout the story.

You can tell that Ennis is having the time of his life writing these issues, showing various stand-ins to the typical archetypes such as Superman, Captain America, Flash, Wonder Woman and the teenager teams, such as the Teen Titans through a perverted mirror. And while I think that he sometimes abuses sex scenes just to show off how edgy and adult this comic is, it serves quite well to show us that this is not a typical comic and makes for a very compelling read.

You’re invested in Butcher and Hughie from the very beginning, complemented by the rest of The Boys who are unique characters with very distinct personalities and whose interactions come across as natural and mature. Ennis does a very smart move by introducing Starlight, who is a superhero that genuinely believes in the concept of heroism and wants to do well with The Seven, but she is faced with a reality that forces her to compromise and to betray some of the core values that she has grown with, making her both relatable and sympathetic in a very tragic way.

What about the art?

The Boys: The Name of Game Review - Animated Apparel Company

Copyright by Dynamite.

There are cases when an artist truly captures the feel and nature of the writer’s story and Darick Robertson’s art is definitely the case here; I cannot imagine someone else drawing these issues and to me he is always going to be the ultimate The Boys artist, establishing the main characters, their outfits and the way they react, move and do things, which is something that every great artist should do.

In more specific details, there is a very realistic and raw feel to his work, showing all the graphic content in a very straightforward way that connects well with Ennis’s scripts. There is a certain chemistry between these two guys and it makes The Name of the Game truly shine.

What it represents?

The Boys: The Name of the Game - Review - Animated Apparel Company

Copyright by Dynamite.

The Name of the Game is a very solid story that encompasses the first seven issues of The Boys and shows a very sordid, dark and even realistic world where the consequences of the superheroes are shown in gruesome and rough fashion and a group of protagonists that are not heroes, but rather just average people trying to bring justice and balance to a society that is falling into pieces.

Garth Ennis has many solid runs in his career, with his Punisher work being a personal favorite of mine, but I have to say that this book does bring the best of him as a writer. Sure, while I don’t agree with his notions of the superhero genre, one cannot deny that he did something entertaining and interesting with this series, excess of shock value notwithstanding.

If you loved the TV show, then you should read this comic. If you haven’t checked neither of them, you should do it now!


Kevin Tanza

Kevin Tanza is a Venezuelan writer who fell in love with stories, music and soccer/football when he was a child and since then, he hasn’t stopped writing about them. He has been published in multiple websites in both Spanish and English. You'll find his work at MusikHolics, Good Comis to Read, Gemr, The Busby Babe, Chiesa di Totti, La Soledad del Nueve, Sail Away, Colgados por el Fútbol, Genre, United’s Red Rain, Mariskal Rock, Sugati Fashion, Indie Artists Go and Music Existence. He has also published a series of short stories. Feel free to use the links provided below to follow Kevin on social media. For business inquiries, please contact him via email.

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