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HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICEon November 25, 2011
The Big Ride, the ninth collected volume of Garth Ennis' The Boys, full on showcases the fact that there are bad things coming on the horizon for our heroes. As Butcher and his crew await the upcoming conflict with The Seven, we get glimpses to just what happened some time ago when The Boys were first formed with Butcher's one-time ally Mallory. Hughie comes back into the fold and the history of Vought-American is revealed, with losses to come on both sides of the fence and this volume ending practically sitting on a powderkeg. Co-creator Darick Robertson isn't around much except for the covers he's drawn, but the artwork from John McCrea, Russ Braun, and Keith Burns is good for the most part. The only real gripes I have with this volume is that the pacing of it just feels off. The issues dealing with Mallory's recollections of war and the dawn of the superheroes, while important to the overall storyarc, just slow things down so much here that you can't help but lose interest. That aside though, by the time The Big Ride comes to a conclusion, you'll be salivating to see what happens next.
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on December 17, 2011
I've been a Garth Ennis fan since the days of Preacher and Hitman. I've loved his ability to tell a story that could be dark at times, incredibly accurate examining the human condition and hideously funny at the wrong times.When Garth debuted The Boys, I figured this would be a great title as it was meant to be his satire/slamming of superhero comics. In previous volumes, it's been established that these "superheroes" are the product of Vought American, a former military contractor who profited at the expense of others' lives with substandard munitions and gear. They made superhumans with a special formula and sought to get back into the military arena with The Seven, until in The Boys version of 9/11, The Seven messed up a rescue mission that destroyed the Brooklyn Bridge. And so these superhumans have been established as untrained, incompetent, hedonistic and in the case of The Homelander, psychopaths with godlike powers. But honestly, all parody aside, why would Vought not train the supes? It's not holding up as much and I kind of realized that as of the Highland Laddie trade. That trade was disappointing outside of the romantic resolution between Hughie and Starlight. This trade collects a years' worth of story and had some interesting revelations here and there...but it wasn't satisfying or shocking. I'm only hoping that the Butcher miniseries and the final arc will make up for the hold pattern of these last 2 Boys trades.
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on June 4, 2012
Let me just tell you I've been a big fan of this series from the get go and a big fam of Ennis since Preacher, but I feel that I could've completely skipped this book entirely and not have missed a beat. Firstly, we don't really continue the main story arc of the Boys at all. I'm all about establishing back story and character development, but seriously I didn't need 3 issues about Mallory. I feel that this entire book was a flash back and you never get any new and interesting story arcs until you hit the last story arc in this trade. Let's just get on with it already. There are a couple of loose ends that are keeping me strung along here but it's frustrating since it seems like they will never be addressed.
1.) What's Black Noir's deal?
2.) Who killed Butcher's wife? Homelander is the obvious choice but I'm sensing some sorta twist here) Possibly Black Noir was the one. Or Homelander was the child that Butcher's wife gave birth to.

So, I would say the weakest of the series so far, hell I had more fun reading the last trade whcih was Hughie just hanging out in Scotland. I literally threw this book across the room in frustration, since it was moving so slow.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 7, 2011
I get the feeling Garth Ennis is a bit tired of this series and if he isn't, I think I am. If you're reading this then you'll have read what came before so I can tell you that what went before goes for one more cycle in this book too. More "Homelander is a psycho" stuff, more "Vought American are evil" stuff, more "supes doing banal hedonism" stuff, more of Wee Hughie and Starlight's tired relationship navigating the rocks of their revelations stuff, and maybe worst of all, the putting off, once again, of the confrontation between the Boys and the Seven.

There's really no other direction for this series to go at this point, just throw the Boys and the Seven in for a final showdown and end it. It's just that these days a comic series has to have 10 volumes so Dynamite have asked Ennis and co. to string this one out even though it's well past it's sell by date.

It might be me, but I think Ennis doesn't have any more ideas for this series. He introduces a new character called Mallory, the former leader of the Boys, who reveals a bit of Butcher's background as well as more of the "Vought are evil" stuff which is just overkill at this point.

Mallory's introduction and age does give Ennis an outlet for his real passion - old war stories. And if you haven't read Ennis' two books called "War Stories, Vol 1 and 2", I highly recommend hunting them down because they are his best work. Unfortunately they're out of print but I found them in my local library and was enthralled and moved by the stories. Really it's the best part of the book, spoiled by the inclusion of the supes who are once again underlined as idiots. Sigh. I get it, I really do, the supes suck, the boys are justified in the horrible ways they deal with them, go on...

Near the end of this bumper size book (it's twice the length of the last book, the abysmal "Highland Laddie") I wondered what the point of this book was, something I rarely do with Garth Ennis books. It doesn't add anything new to the series really, it just hints, AGAIN, that the Boys and the Seven are going to have a big fight - in the next book? Tease tease... But what really stung was the way they killed off a character at the end that felt like such a cheap shot at sentimentality designed to make the reader feel like there was a heart to the story when there wasn't one. I don't consider Ennis a hack, far from it, but that was a hack trick.

And that's what this book feels like - someone hacking out a story that's begging to be finished. I loved this series at first but as it's gone on its felt like its slowly been running out of ideas and at this point I just wish he'd finish it and move onto something more interesting. Summary of this overlong book: Supes bad, Boys good, roll on Vol 10.

PS. Like the last book, Darick Robertson's art is absent here too. John McCrea takes on pencil duty but his artwork, while undoubtedly trying to mimic Robertson's, just isn't as good. Here's hoping Darick returns for the final book.
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on September 10, 2012
Nine volumes into "the Boys" and what seemed like a series destined to become one of the truly greats of comics is limping toward the finish line with a barely coherent plot and nothing new to offer about the characters. Long and meandering, "The Big Ride" would probably be more accurate if it had been titled, "The Big Crawl." With pages and pages of repetitive exposition, hardly anything happens in this volume that substantiallly advances the overarching plot. In two separate episodes, the titular "Boys" and the "Seven" have a literal standoff, in which nothing actually happens. The characters talk, of course, but by the end of both meetings, nothing has changed. The meetings are therefore a kind of metaphor for where the series is as a whole - in a holding pattern, with plenty of posturing on all sides but nothing significant taking place.

It's an unfortunate creative rut for what started out as a promising book. The creative team seems to have decided when they started that there was an arbitrary point at which the series should end, but they didn't have enough story to take up all the issues between launch and conclusion. And lets face it, it hardly ever happens that the writer who draws a story out unnecessarily ever finishes strong. We're probably looking to an ending more like a whimper than a bang. Which is unfortunate. The artists on the book are consistently wonderful and are pitch perfect for the series. But they're given so little to do it must be a real labor of love for them to get through the pages. Too bad it's just mostly labor for us...
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on February 16, 2012
First, let me say I LOVE this series. I think the concept is great, the characters are intriguing, and (usually) the stories move along at a good clip.

That being said, this particular entry into the series is some weak sauce.

Firstly, the dialogue in this particular volume seems awkward and poorly thought out at times. A lot of conversations in this book just flat out do not flow well, almost as if some bad editing occurred behind the scenes. Furthermore, if you're looking for a good story, then this book isn't for you. While I'm sure it's setting up for the big final showdown that will (probably) end the series, this particular volume doesn't seem to have a real self-contained story... the bit with Mallory attempts to tell the back story of how The Boys got started, but with the exception of a few nuggets of information, it doesn't really tell us anything that readers of the series didn't already know.

However, if you are in this series to the bitter end (as I am) this volume feels like a necessity. I'm sure it's building (albeit a bit awkwardly) towards the inevitable finale of this otherwise great series.
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on August 25, 2013
more nonimportant events occur, more time is wasted between knowing whats going to end up happening and it actually occurring. if youve read this far you might as well finish the series
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on June 9, 2013
Love the series and depressed that there is only one more really wish that they wouldn't have stopped it. Maybe his other stuff is good.
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on July 27, 2013
Great series. I love the entire story line and wish there was more but I enjoyed the conclusion to the series.
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on January 28, 2016
One of the greatest comics about the psychology of super humans! Awesome!
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