After last month's issue of "The Boys" showed the original interaction between the Boys and the Seven that resulted in the dissolution of the CIA group, this month's issue begins to put the two groups back on track for a head-on collision as Butcher heads to Washington to ensure that his team is left to its own devices. At the same time, Vought-American begins running scenarios to determine what the outcome of a Boys/Seven conflict would be and if they can live with the results. It's an issue focused on the behind-the-scenes politics at play on both sides of the conflict, one that reminds the reader that there's always more at stake than a simple conflict between the Boys and the Seven.
One of the new problems Garth Ennis has introduced for Butcher is the replacement of the director of the CIA with 'Monkey,' the man that Butcher loves to torture and who has a mad on as a result. Here, Butcher makes it clear who is in charge in a scene that reminds readers that Ennis can't always stay away from the crude, eye-rolling-inducing scenes as Monkey tries to have his way with a woman in a wheelchair. What's strange is that the follow-up with Monkey tied to the bed gives Russ Braun to show off with two pages of six panels each showing Monkey from the exact same perspective. The versatility Braun shows in Monkey's facial expressions is astounding and his best work on the series to date.
The scene between Butcher and the outgoing director of the CIA shows Ennis' skills off in a better light, as he manages to make Rayner a more human character than she's previously been shown as. Up until this point, she was simply someone Butcher had sex with sometimes and would make decisions that messed up Butcher's plans. Here, she's more fleshed out and we can see the various influences at play, the balancing act she goes for in her position. It's easy to see everything from the Boys' perspectives and resent anyone who doesn't agree, but Ennis makes sure Rayner comes across as someone who wants to do the right thing and has different problems than Butcher. She lives in a more complex world than Butcher and doesn't have the luxury that he does.
"Proper Preparation and Planning" is the turning point story arc of the series it appears with this finale living up to the title as both sides begin to work behind the scenes for the inevitable conflict between the Boys and the Seven. Other superheroes may come and go, but it's all about the Seven for Butcher - and for Vought-American. That Ennis has V-A executives begin to admit that there is a time coming when they'll be willing to take the Seven off the board is a big shift, one that changes the rules of the conflict. If V-A decides to simply end the conflict by having both sides exterminate one another, what happens then? I can't wait to find out.