YMMV / The Boys

  • Anvilicious: The comic is quite unbearably preachy about its message that superheroes suck. Of course, this is Garth Ennis we're talking about.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Black Noir, the clone of Homelander, gleefully Eats Babies, commits murder-rapes, and eats hearts with a Slasher Smile. The villainy of the other two contenders for worst monster in the comic, Homelander and Butcher himself, was ultimately Black Noir's fault too. Black Noir drove Homelander insane by gaslighting him with the aforementioned atrocities so he would receive the sanction to kill him, which Noir thought was the only thing that gave his life meaning since he was created to kill Homelander. One of Black Noir's crimes was raping Butcher's wife Becky, which triggered Butcher's vendetta against superhumans.
    • John Godolkin, a twisted Expy of Professor Charles Xavier, runs his own private academy for "special" children. However, Godolkin simply kidnaps the children and convinces them they're special, never allowing them to go home again. The children are injected with a formula to give them powers and fill out Godolkin's many teams. However, between the ages of six and nine, Godolkin begins molesting the children and has the older children join in. Any who prove too troublesome are simply eliminated.
  • Crossing the Line Twice: Almost every issue.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Even and especially though they're a pair of unhinged, Ax-Crazy nutters, pretty much all the interactions between The Frenchman and The Female are this. He never treats her as anything less than a human being, and never gives up on the hope that one day she can move past her homicidal yearnings. For her part, he is the only one that can touch her without losing body parts, and it's clear she cares deeply for him. One standout is where Frenchie tries to convince The Female to leave the team with him, offering himself as an outlet for the uncontrollable need to maim and kill she is afflicted with. Despite knowing in detail exactly what kind of nauseating, unbelievable damage she can inflict. The Female - who we have seen repatedly rip faces off, eviscerate explosively, and woke from a coma by breaking Hughie's arm - immediately and absolutely refuses, almost looking about to cry. Then she gives Frenchie some of her ice-cream.
    "Je suis votre ami. If I cannot be your friend I would as soon be dead. If it must be by your hand, so be it."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Being The Pollyanna, a former member of a youth team, and having light-burst powers and the word "star" in her name, Starlight could be considered an Alternate Company Equivalent of Starfire. At some point, the Vought-American PR folks decide to make her way more sexualized than she was before, because (according to them) that's what sells the merchandise. A few years later DC did exactly the same to Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
    • This isn't exactly prescience on Ennis's part; Starfire's sexuality has been seesawing since her introduction, mainly depending on whether DC is marketing her towards younger teens or adult readers.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Queen Maeve can be a genuinely unpleasant person who doesn't seem to care about anything that doesn't involve alcohol, but it turns out she was more or less traumatized by what happened on 9/11 and before then is implied to have genuinely wanted to be heroic. She became a Broken Bird in order to cope with her guilt, and has also been raped thanks to Homelander tricking her into having sex with Black Noir.
  • Love It or Hate It: You either enjoy the book for taking apart many myths of superhero genre and corporate policies behind them or you think it's an Author Tract from guy who hates superheroes and is trying too hard to be edgy.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Homelander casually kills the Muller family, who had won a car and a dinner with him, by dropping them from the sky, while belittling their beliefs, and telling them that the contest they won was a farce. He's later shown eating babies and hearts, though that turned out to actually be Black Noir.
  • Narm: Frequently played straight in-universe.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Issue 63: Homelander's face after he kills Queen Maeve and has Annie in his sights as a possible next target
  • Spiritual Successor: To Marshal Law and Alan Moore's superhero satires in Miracleman and Watchmen.
  • Squick: Assloads of it. For starters, we have a lot of gruesome violence and one of the characters is a grown man who needs his mother's breast milk to survive.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks: Some negative responses to the series argue that Marshal Law did it all before.
  • Wangst: Played with; many's the time that Wee Hughie's basically been told to shut the fuck up, stop moaning about things and just get over it by the other characters, and he does display a tendency to mope about and wallow in self-pity over the problems in his life. Then again, a lot of the people who are telling him this are themselves homicidal borderline-sociopaths who find it unsettlingly easy to shrug off various atrocities, so they probably aren't the best examples to follow in terms of getting in touch with your emotions.
    • Word of God says that this is intentional, partly because his introspective brooding and doubt is what allows Hughie to retain his humanity and thus ultimately stand out as the good guy amidst a crowd of violently sociopathic monsters, and also because, well, realistically everyone has character flaws that they're just incapable of getting over, and Hughie's just happens to be self-pity.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: So an American, a Brit, a Frenchman and a nostalgic Russian beat the shit out of a Nazi? Nah, I'm sure there's no deeper meaning to it... This was actually lampshaded in the scene itself. The Boys quite cheerfully inform Stormfront that, while yes, they are representing the Allies, they are going to let the beat down be done by a representative of the folks who did it to the Germans in 1945: Cue Love Sausage!
  • The Woobie: All of Superduper. Every other superhero group is made up of assholes, rapists, and murderers, but Superduper is more or less a halfway home for disabled kids. The kicker is that all of them honestly do want to be superheroes and use their powers, limited though they are, to try and help people. And then they get stuck with Malchemical for a leader, who almost rapes Auntie Sis, Stool-Shadow, and Ladyfold before he's killed by Butcher. And then Butcher almost kills them when Klanker, who has Tourette's, screams "Fuckingcunt" at the worst possible moment. It takes Hughie begging Butcher not to in order for him to back off before he hurts one of them. The worst part is, most of them don't understand what's going on except for Auntie Sis. And most everybody either thinks they're a joke (like Malchemical) or will inevitably become just as fucked up as the Seven (like Butcher, who doesn't even really care that Malchemical was going to rape and torture them).