November 30, 2022

#UnboxingDay ~ The Boys: This Is Going To Hurt

Michael Eckenfels, 14 July 2022 ~ #UnboxingDay

From 2006 through 2012, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson authored a comic that had all the subtlety of a hammer dropped on a highly fragile tea set. This was, to me, a shattering blow to the usual superhero genre or story; along with Invincible, both series turned the perceptions of superheroes on its ear in my mind.

After all, superheroes (or ‘supes’ as The Boys call them) are supposed to be good guys, and they battle bad guys and blah blah blah always win in the end. In The Boys, supes are instead some of the most spoiled and mentally immature members of the human race, doing what they want and when they want, while the massive megacorp Vought-American does its best to keep them in line and rake in a steady flow of ridiculous profits from their portrayal of these sad sacks of super-powered humanity as brave, conscionable, and good protectors of society.

They might be that on the outside thanks to very active and talented PR teams, but their hijinks, which include massive amounts of things that cannot even be repeated here in this article as they are far, far too adult in nature for fear of landing a hammer onto delicate sensibilities. Suffice it to say, while not at quite an X rating, it’s about as NC-17 and TV-MA as it can get without quite crossing the line.

In any case, The Boys are a group of super-powered humans that are tasked by the CIA to keep the superheroes in line. Billy Butcher, in the comics, put it quite bluntly, in so many words. The fact that The Boys have superpowers makes complete sense, because you can’t exactly ‘spank’ a bunch of superheroes if you don’t have superpowers yourself. This is something that wasn’t explored in the Prime series until later in Season 3, though as I write this, that season is still ongoing.

That all said, this is an unboxing article, not a deep discussion of The Boys comic series and/or Prime series, but it’s important to make this distinction for those that are not entirely aware of either, so that expectations can be managed. The game, The Boys: This Is Going To Hurt is, artistically speaking and in appearance, a full-fledged representation of the comic books, and therefore, has a lot of art that would not be appropriate for younger readers or gamers.

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The three boxes that I purchased were part of a deluxe package. I think this was supposed to come with comic art too, but my FLGS did not have it. Here, we have the base game, the Homelander standee, and the miniature upgrade components.

click images to enlarge

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The Homelander standee is definitely a stand-out item in this collection; it’s huge, representing Homelander’s power. For those that do not know who he is, this is essentially Superman. On steroids. With a streak of serious instability and childlike temper tantrums. Nearly invincible, he can fly and has ridiculous amounts of strength, and laser vision too. Because, why not.

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The miniature upgrade pack has ten figures, representing (from top row left to right): The Frenchman, wielding a baguette; The Female Of The Species; Mother’s Milk; Wee Hughie; and Billy Butcher. The bottom row, from left to right, is Terror (Billy’s dog, and quite a character unto himself in the comic); Starlight; Queen Maeve; Lamplighter; and (I believe) Soldier Boy. I’m not sure why Soldier Boy is in this pack, but whatever. He’s not exactly a major character.

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The cover of the box. Garth Ennis and Darick can create some very fascinating artwork, with highly expressive characters. The box cover here drips with this. Billy’s smile (the center-pictured character) is, if you know him from the comics, should NOT be interpreted as welcoming. 

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Yeah. This smile is more Billy. As is the quote.

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The box is HUGE. It’s one thing about gaming that is kind of a pain, that different companies do different sizes, so things don’t look quite so uniform on the shelves. Nevertheless, this box is quite stunning in its shelf presence.

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I especially love that comic artwork is interlaced throughout the cover.

Let’s take a closer look at the Homelander figure.

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Yep, he’s a gigantic jerk.

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He is, however, very much the comic book figure, personified. Err..plastic-ified. The intent of this piece is to sit at the center of the board and laugh at your puny attempts to knock him out. The objective of the game is to defeat Homelander, and that is definitely no easy task.

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The detail is very good, and this is definitely a piece that is begging to be painted.

Let’s take a closer look at the other miniatures.

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A much better view, to start.

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Here is a closer look at The Frenchman, with his trademark goggles and…baguette, I suppose. The comic, while very adult in nature, does have a very tongue-in-cheek view of things, and there’s plenty of humor. The interpretation of The Frenchman wielding a long piece of bread is entirely something he would do in the comic. And he might have; it’s been a while since I’ve read the series, which I have on my shelf next to me.

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The Female of The Species. You might think this an odd name at first, but you get used to it reading the comic. She doesn’t speak, and has very nasty powers in the form of super strength and…well, I won’t go into detail what her signature move is. Here, you see what she’s standing upon, and while she’s certainly capable of this, she has a different…signature move in the comic, let’s just say.

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Mother’s Milk. A very odd name, but the reason for this becomes oh so very clear later in the comic series. I’m actually surprised they kept his name in the Prime series, which makes me wonder if they’re really going to go there with him as in the comic. I can’t even relate the reason why he’s named this, as that would not be appropriate here, but he is the voice of reason on the team, much like an NCO trying to keep Billy and the rest of the team in line.

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Here’s Wee Hughie. Interestingly, Garth and Darick designed him in the comics as an homage to Simon Pegg; Hughie is from Scotland and is a great character unto himself. Which is why the Prime series’ Hughie makes little to no sense whatsoever. But anyway. I’ve had to pixelate him partially here because I’m not certain you want to see a close-up of what he’s wielding, which harkens to a very sad and violent moment in both the comic and Prime series, at the start.

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Good ol’ Billy with his signature crowbar, his weapon of choice. He’s the leader of The Boys, ex-military I believe, and very much a believer in the phrase, “an eye for an eye.” He also has some majorly significant reasons for wanting to ‘spank’ a few supes, especially Homelander. The comic relates an extremely tragic reason behind this, which I of course cannot get into here. Suffice it to say, he plays the long game in finding some revenge on the supes.

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Oi, this one’s named Terror, innit? He’s Billy’s bulldog, and quite a character in his own right throughout the comic. There’s one particular command Billy gives Terror in the comic, which once again, I do not dare shed light on, here.

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This is Starlight, a major character, one of the better ones in the series. You can see her grow as a person over the story arc; she’s really quite remarkable.

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This is Queen Maeve. She is like Wonder Woman, without the pleasantries and self-control. In the TV series, she’s much more…how shall I put this…much more ‘smoothed around the edges,’ personality-wise, if that makes sense. In the comic, she brutally gives not a whit about anyone or anything.

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This is Lamplighter. He’s a comic-only character and one of the original members of The Seven. His storyline in the comic is far more engaging than the one in the series that replaces him, Translucent. 

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And, this is Soldier Boy, whom has something of a footprint in the comic book but not a large one, which makes me wonder why he’s portrayed here; there’s others much more larger than life than this guy, such as the comic book version of The Deep, so it’s a mystery to me why he’s included. Still, it’s a cool miniature.

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The box cover shown earlier is actually a slip cover; the above is what the top of the box inside looks like. More impressive art from the comic book, showing Homelander in a very threatening pose, from a scene straight from its pages.

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The back of the box.

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Once opened, the box is like an assault on your senses. Not a bad one, as of course I’m a huge fan of the comic series; if you’re not, or rather I should say, if you are not yet, then it may not be your cup of tea.

Yet.

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I do really like the cover of the rule book. Let’s take a look inside and see how it fares from our first glances…

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A-yup. Right from the comics.

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Insight into some of the characters. Interestingly, ‘Vic the Veep’ is modeled after Schwarzenegger, though not a particularly bright version.

The image, I can’t even barely blur it because it’s bad. I have to turn it into a six-block pixel. 

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Some information on the cards.

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The three currencies in the game – Compound V, Blackmail, and Money. Seems legit, especially for this universe.

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Some of the player boards.

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The aforementioned currencies, in token form. I love that Terror is on the money, here.

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That is, Terror is on the 5 denomination; Queen Mauve is on the 10, and Billy himself is on the 20.

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The standees from the base game. The minis shown earlier of course can be used to replace these. I like the standees as they’re representative of the art and of course very colorful; the minis would require a paint job and I don’t have the time nor the skill, really, to do that. But – they’re MINIS!

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The game board, folded up. Luckily, it’s mounted, so it’s good quality.

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The game board, folded out. At first glance, the design isn’t the greatest (in my opinion, anyway), but the more I look at it, the more I like it. For example, I missed the globe design underneath everything as it’s somewhat busy when you first take it in. But after seeing it in the store and talking with the game store employee, I saw how the board functions and it ‘feels’ right.

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This center space, I believe, is where the Homelander bust goes. In the comic, The Seven occupied a space station in orbit around Earth, whereas in the series, they’re in a boring skyscraper. I mean, come on. If you have superheroes in your story, you may as well incorporate some of the more fantastical aspects of it.

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A close up of part of the board. I love the comic art of the characters incorporated into the board’s design.

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The insert is decent; it holds everything, even when the cards are sleeved. It’s nice to see designers incorporating more nuances like this into the game’s storage.

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DICE! And standee stands. But…DICE!!

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And so, we arrive at one of the card decks, comprised of the ‘Beta’ type characters. Laddio is…well, he’s the sidekick of Tek-Knight, whom is something like a cross between Batman and Iron Man. And he has…proclivities, let’s just say, that cannot be mentioned here.

Like I said, the comic is all kinds of wrong, but man is it entertaining.

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These ‘Beta’ characters are lower-powered ones but still quite potent, especially if you combine them with other characters (named on their cards). After I took the picture, and now that I’ve been going through the images for this article, I only just now realized what Terror was doing, so I had to edit it a tad. The look on his face was too priceless to omit, however.

I wanted to show the back of the Beta cards, but that might be arguably a bad idea. Not that it’s terrible or anything, but discretion is probably the better part of valor, as you can no doubt imagine.

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And now, the Alpha cards, which are arguably the strongest and most messed up ones.

And since I refrained from showing you the back of the Beta cards, I definitely cannot show you the back of the Alpha cards. Whew.

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Here is a sampling of some of the Alpha characters. If you’ve seen the Prime series but not the comics, you’ll see the differences here among some of these almost immediately. And while the art probably is okay to show off, it’s again a question of discretion. 

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Next, we come to another deck, replete with Resources.

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These Resources are all items that appear in the comic universe – and some even made it into the Prime series. 

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There’s a lot of them in the deck, and I don’t think I saw anything repeated. Each item here has a very important part in the comic; their inclusion is pretty impressive.

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These are examples from the Homelander Attacks deck. Again, it’s best to not show you the other side of these cards. However, the info sides here paints a picture of just what a cretin and psychopath Homelander is, especially in the comics. He’s not exactly a picture of stability in the Prime series either, but he seems much more threatening in the comic series. Think Superman, but nuts and no filters, though he veils himself in a brittle and thin veneer of respectability. The threat of violence from him is always there, which adds incredible tension to the story.

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Hey, look! Mission cards. I can show you the back of these!

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These give you objectives to secure to help build your team up to be strong enough to take on Homelander.

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And now, we have some Hero cards. Each player chooses one to play in the game.

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Here they are, one for each of the player minis.

Needless to say, I’m fairly impressed with this game overall. It’s strange to go into a game store and not know what you’re looking for, then just turn around and boom, there it is. It’s good to add this to the collection…next, it would be great to be able to play the silly thing!

If you’ve not read the comics, you’ve probably taken the hint throughout this article that this would be a awesome thing to read. It would be, but let me be absolutely clear – The Boys comic series (and heck, even the Prime series) are for adults only. The Prime series has nothing on the comics. It’s always hilarious to me to read social media posts saying how ‘messed up’ the Prime series is, but they’ve not once read a page from this gloriously chaotic and screwed up masterpiece of graphic novelness. If you’re not accepting of adult themes, violence, or other such graphic situations, you definitely want to steer clear of the comics. Knowledge of it, however, would help in appreciating this game that much more, though. Your mileage, of course, may vary from mine.

 


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.  You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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