The most noticeable thing about “The Boys” #26 is John Higgins handling the art instead of Darick Robertson. Thankfully, a better fill-in artist would not be possible as Higgins manages to stick to the artistic tone set by Robertson perfectly. It’s rare that an issue with a fill-in artist will feel the same, even with a strong authorial voice like that of Garth Ennis, but nothing feels any different. While Higgins’ details may differ from Robertson’s, both are coming at the material in much the same way.
Take the opening page where Hughie stumbles across G-Wiz acting like idiots in the bathroom with various members sharing a bath while another urinates onto them, all laughing and having a lot of stupid fun. Higgins nails the absurdity of the scene and the odd camaraderie found in this youthful team. Sure, it’s over-the-top and crude, but it’s exactly in line with everything else about the book.
Not only that, but Higgins brings the same energy to talking head scenes where he depicts characters like Hughie, Butcher, and Annie just as ably as Robertson, making the scenes sing, and adding depth to Ennis’ wonderful dialogue.
This issue does suffer from being part four of a seven-part story. To combat this, Ennis has more plots going here than in any previous story, allowing the issue to have a brisk pace as it jumps from plot to plot. His exploration of the G-Men is also rather amusing at times, coming off as less a poke at the X-Men characters but as a mockery of the manner in which Marvel has done everything in its power to balloon the franchise. When the idea that there are too many G-Men-related groups, founder John Godolkin says that there’s no such thing as enough and that he “just can’t seem to stop.”
Or, there’s the hilariously serious speech that Godolkin gives when the group gathers: “Welcome, my G-Men! Welcome to brunch.” He continues to go on about their outcast status and how it’s ironic that they’ve adopted one of the social conventions of those who would oppress them, treating even the act of eating Eggs Benedict political and a part of their “ongoing struggle.”
One of the central parts of this issue is a rendezvous between Hughie and Annie, which delves more into Annie’s past and who she is. She even hints about her superhero status, asking Hughie what he thinks of superheroes like the Seven, obviously laying the foundation for a future reveal. Moments like that are both sweet and brutal since we know the truth about both characters and know that the eventual revelation of their true lives may just ruin everything.
While Darick Robertson may be absent, John Higgins fills his shoes more than ably, while Ennis continues “We Gotta Go Now” without missing a beat. “The Boys” is only half over and is still going strong.
(He may not but Darick Robertson, but John Higgins is the next best thing in this issue of “The Boys,” which http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=1823” target=”_blank”>CBR has a preview of!)