"The Boys" has just come off a stellar arc, though one that has left much of the core cast in disarray. There hasn't been a lot of unity to the team for a long time and it feels like this arc might just start to tie everything back together. It's called 'Proper Planning and Preparation' and this might as well stand for each and every character and group in the comic. Everyone's getting ready for the end; Considering it might only be a year or more away, at best, I think this is the perfect time to amp up for the final act.
This issue has a lot of talking heads, page after page of them, but by the end you feel like a lot of stuff has still gone down. Butcher is still manipulating the situation and getting his end-game ready. He wants one last crack at The Seven, and that's exactly what we want to see him try. It's the battle royale that's been brewing for years and we finally get the sense that it's all about to go down, if only the goddamn bureaucracy doesn't get in his way.
Standing opposite Butcher, in the smug corner, is The Homelander, who is prepping some business of his own. Exactly what he wants is still a little obscured but you get the feeling that people are going to die for this cause. And he may well be the one to cause his death. He's spent some time playing coiled spring, and continues to do so here, so the wait for him to explode is edge-of-your-seat stuff. But it will certainly be worth it.
To break up the chatter, there is one action packed scene involving Black Noir. He's got a government flunky trying to explain to him how to fly his own special jet. It seems that the comics have Black Noir flying a plane so they want to get him to do it in real life to shut the obsessive continuity losers up (a very biting expose on how the system really works). It's a three page sequence, not overly written, and it will make you laugh, if nothing else. It's just what the issue needs for some balance.
Braun has come in to replace Darick Robertson, the co-creator who wasn't going to be able to keep up the shipping schedule. His Butcher looks good, and expresses himself well. Frenchie has never looked as good before. The pages flow well and it really feels that "The Boys" is back on track to still finish as strong as it started.
This issue is all about laying more seeds for the eventual forest of story that is going to come crashing together like waves of lava against ancient celestial lands. It's going to be epic, it's going to be intense, and it's going to be exactly what we've been waiting for. But wait we must, as this issue pushes us slightly further but mostly it feels like the polishing of barrels before the onslaught of bloodshed.