The Boys: Highland Laddie #3

This series continues to baffle me with its very loose plot. Gladly, this issue does a lot to keep my attention as it at least feels like it's finally leading somewhere. So far, we've watched Wee Hughie return home to get some time away from the daily grind of being one of The Boys. He's caught up with his old mates and he's lodging with his parents.

The issue starts with a truly disturbing flashback as Hughie remembers being a child and having his Auntie Mary live with the family. She's a gaunt lady, who resembles a sedated Paul Reubens for some strange reason, and we find out her problem is manifested by a seventeen foot long tapeworm inside her. It's a great Ennis type story detail and one played to horrific intent with the gray tones and splashes of red. The splash page of a young Hughie facing this rearing monstrosity is almost worth the price of admission alone. It's like watching an experimental late 60s horror movie fuelled by drug paranoia and whatever props the gaffers could, literally, cough up. I only wish they'd shipped this comic with a Frazetta style variant of this moment.

We know Hughie has gone home to contemplate where he came from and where he is now. He discusses a lot of his life with a stranger he met near the water. This man has taken up a psychiatrist role for Hughie. While he makes a great conduit for Hughie's exposition, I don't really feel his place in the story. He's a sounding board, at best, and I wonder if Ennis has any further reveals planned for him.

Hughie's mates are right goons, his parents annoy the hell out of him, and the town he spawned from is wacky. I get that already, got it in the first issue, so I don't know why Ennis is still hitting us over the head with it. He needs to move on with the story, and that he does in the final two pages. Someone has tracked Hughie where he lives and the next issue promises a showdown, of sorts. I am almost, shock horror, looking forward to the next issue because it would seem to be offering a story beat that will actually matter. Here's hoping.

I can't work out if McCrea's art is bad or if it just pales in comparison to the years Darick Robertson put into the main title. His rendition of Hughie just looks like a completely different guy, still angular and annoying to look at. His goofy style works for some scenes, and he draws a massive tapeworm like he has one trapped at home in his office, but overall his work isn't the sell of this title.

This miniseries has been massively below the standard I expect from the parent title. It is offering a slight piece of importance to the overall tome Ennis is crafting, though it's taken until the last two pages of the third issue to really get to this place. There are enjoyable moments -- do I need to mention a cobra-esque tapeworm again? -- and the rest of the pages are pleasant, but they're just not required reading. So far, it feels like you could skip this mini and be fine. If you get it, you'll have a fun time, but it's like dating the twin of your girlfriend, but the one who has the lame eye. It's fun, kind of, but you'll always want your true love.

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