Ennis is a cruel one. He’s really getting ready to jab the knife in, hard. This is the issue where we meet her. The lovely russet-haired beauty on the cover, fit to be played by the likes of Rula Lenska (if anyone remembers the old shampoo commercial). Name of Becky. She and Billy meet cute on a train, and it’s all downhill from there.
Well, for her, most likely. For him, it’s clearly the brightest moment of his life. Far beyond finding he was a good soldier (good at killing and surviving while doing it, at least). Far beyond the love of and for his white sheep brother or victimized mother. Here she was, the reason life was worth living. What’s more, she was a social worker, she wasn’t in the least scared of him, and she involved herself in making life better for his battered mother. As an outsider, she could break the family rules that dysfunction had used to entrap them.
It’s not a little creepy watching this gorgeous woman converse in pubs with Billy, whose two black eyes go some way to underlining how rough and wild his life had become. Robertson enjoys these bittersweet moments as well as Ennis, toying with our instant affection for Becky, our worry that she’s already in far over her head. They eat in an Indian restaurant. They make love, in frankly sensual, completely non-exploitative scenes. She even gets him to lighten up on the drinking.
Even his family can see the change in him, and the only one not overjoyed by it was his dad. The slew of invective he unleashes on Billy and his girl, as they get his mother to safety, are the bitter last shots of a desperate and flailing failure. Robertson makes sure we miss none of that, either, with extra helpings of depravity. It’s sort of amazing how he can go from sleaze on one page to the entirely conventional happiest day of Billy’s life on another, when he gleefully marries his appreciative treasure.
“It’s like a knife … an’ all I wanna do’s keep pushin’ it into meself,” confesses Billy as he narrates. This, the best of The Boys adjunct series, can be described in the same way.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.