With the release of issue six this week, one has to ask the question “Was ‘Herogasm’ worth its own series?” The answer being yes… and no. Yes, as it allowed Garth Ennis to tell this story without interrupting “The Boys.” No, because it didn’t fill six issues strongly with only half of the issues being better than mediocre, suggesting that the series could have been a couple of issues shorter to greater effect. Worse than that, “Herogasm” ends with a shrug rather than a strong impact.
Numerous subplots were set up during the story and only one gets any sort of resolution, leaving the others hanging, making the story feel incomplete. Of course, since this story happened prior to the most recent “Boys” story arc, nothing of great import could have happened without readers already knowing it — but that simply highlights the superfluous nature of the series.
In the long run, Hughie’s confrontation with Black Noir, the Homelander’s burgeoning rebellion against Vought-American, and Vic the Veep’s future in the government will play out and pay off, but, if they do, should this story have been part of the main book? It’s an odd trick to deliver a story important enough that it’s essential reading, but not strong or important enough to warrant its own separate mini-series.
If I spent too much time on the series as a whole and not the final issue itself, that’s because not much actually happens in this final issue. As the Red River-trained secret service agents stumble upon the Boys, Herogasm comes to a close. While it looks like the issue will build to a strong climax featuring Vic the Veep, it does something similar though wholly less effective.
John McCrea and Keith Burns’ art is less suitable in this issue without raucous debaucheries to illustrate nor any visual gags. Since this issue is very straight with little room for hijinks of any kind, their art doesn’t quite mesh. This duo is more suited to the early issues of the series with superhero orgies and the various jokes that they, and Ennis, could cram in. If you look at the preview pages, you’ll see that the art isn’t bad; it’s just not as fitting as it could be. Later in the issue, some scenes suffer from the lack of nuance or strong backgrounds that would make the events play out better, but, mostly, this issue falls down by not having strong writing.
If “Herogasm” had been four issues, it would have been much stronger and this conclusion wouldn’t come off as weak and anti-climactic as it does. But, for a six-issue story, it needs to end on high note, on something that leaves things changed, and that doesn’t happen. A throwaway fun “Boys” story is great, just not six issues great.