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Thanks to Amazon’s brilliant show, Ennis’ and Robertson’s The Boys has become a global phenomenon. This complex and gritty comic book tells the story of a group of “regular” humans who oppose the ever so popular superheroes of their age, but who are actually everything but heroic. It is a story that shows a fight between a regular human (or humans here) against a large corporate system bent on keeping itself alive. The Boys never hesitated while crossing the usual boundaries and that is what made this gritty story so popular. In today’s article, we are going to give you a list of 10 comic books that are similar to The Boys, either in subject (resistance against a ruling structure) or in style (gritty, dark stories), or even both at the same time.
Writer: Alan Moore
Illustrator: Dave Gibbons
Publisher: DC Comics
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1985. Two police inspectors try to figure out what led a bodybuilder in his sixties to cross the bay window of his apartment and crash ten floors below. Having concluded that a man with certain high-level connections has been murdered, the police leave the crime scene. A masked character then arrives on the scene: Rorschach. The latter, calling the victim “The Comedian”, assumes that he was murdered not for what he had done or was doing, but because he was a superhero.
Rorschach then makes the rounds of his former colleagues in order to keep them informed of his findings and to warn them. The Owl II, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan and his companion the Silky Specter II have different reactions. If the Owl seems to feel guilty about the Comedian’s death and his past, the Specter is delighted, having apparently never put up with the individual, nor does she support Rorschach. Ozymandias regrets the death of the Comedian, but thinks that Rorschach’s conclusions are only the result of paranoia, usual with him.
Dr. Manhattan seems rather indifferent to the news, and only reacts to the request of his partner Laurie, teleporting Rorschach out of his home, despite the latter’s protests. Rorschach, after his former colleagues, goes to see an old enemy: Moloch. The latter confesses to him that he did meet the Comedian the day before his death. The Comedian allegedly broke into his home, drunk, woke him up to threaten him, talking about a list where Moloch’s name was found, as well as other people (including Dr. Manhattan’s first mate). Moloch, suffering from a major and fatal cancer, offered no real resistance to the Comedian, nor to Rorschach; the Comedian would have ended up feeling sorry for himself, going from a fit of tears to anger.
Rorschach leaves him, telling him he’s going to come back and get some info, and Moloch better find it. A few days after the Comedian’s funeral, in front of all his former colleagues (except Rorschach), Laurie and Dr Manhattan have a heated argument, mainly about Manhattan’s indifference to Laurie and the rest of humanity. in general. Laurie leaves the military base where they live, to join Dan Dreiberg (the Owl) for dinner. Little by little, America’s past and that of heroes are being revealed.
Kick-Ass: The Dave Lizewski Years
Writer: Mark Millar
Illustrator: John Romita Jr.
Publisher: Icon Comics, Image Comics
Publication: February 2008 – August 2014
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The first volume of The Dave Lizewski Years with the original title Kick-Ass takes place over the span two years. Dave Lizewski, a run-of-the-mill New York high school student, comics fan and the child of James Lizewski, a loving single father and mother who died of a brain hemorrhage, wonders about the lack of costumed guards in the real world “some An Armenian.” “in a superhero outfit jumps from the roof of a skyscraper, doesn’t take off and dives to death in a car on the street below in front of a crowd of onlookers.
Months earlier, Dave bought a wetsuit from the eBay website, wore it under his regular clothes, started exercising, and took rooftop walks to fulfill his ambitions of becoming a super real life hero for a while. He’s finally trying to fight the crime. His first attempt resulted in him being badly beaten and stabbed by thugs, followed by walking the street and being hit by a car. He keeps his identity a secret by taking off his costume and hiding it before the paramedics arrive. When he informs his father that he has been attacked, he undergoes extensive physical rehabilitation, including four operations.
He was released months later, and as soon as he ran out of crutches, he put his costume back on and went on patrol. When he saves a man from being beaten, a viewer records the incident and uploads it to YouTube, making Dave an overnight sensation known as a “kick-ass”. Local Mafia boss John Genovese is annoyed about the appearance of Kick-Ass because his business has been disrupted by other guards. At school, the excuse that he had covered up his injuries a second time sparked rumors that Dave was a gay prostitute.
Katie Deauxma, his long-time crush, believes them and adopts him as “gay best friend”. Dave joins in to hang out with her. The pursuit of patrols devastates Dave, and his worried father gives him a police pepper spray to protect him. As a kick-ass, Dave creates a Myspace account so people can ask him for help. The first such request he investigates is a man named Eddie Lomas, who molests his ex-girlfriend, which leads Kick-Ass into an apartment of violent lowlifes who try to kill him. He is rescued by a costumed girl with a blade named Hit-Girl, real name Mindy McCready, who brutally kills all attackers and then joins a grown man named Big Daddy McCready, who also wears a superhero.
The two ignore Dave, who later learns that Kick-Ass accidentally inspired a subculture of people dressed in original, improvised superhero costumes. Later one of these heroes appears, the Red Nebula. He teams up with Kick-Ass on a street patrol and the two arrive in a burning building. When a woman asks her to save her “baby”, Kick-Ass shoves a very reluctant red mist into the building, only to find that the “baby” is actually a kitten. Although the two are almost killed to save the kitten, they become increasingly popular with the public after being rescued.
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Illustrator: Cory Walker
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication: 2003 – 2018
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Markus Sebastian Grayson is the son of Deborah Grayson and the writer Nolan Grayson, who is also the omni-man superhero. When Mark is seven years old, Nolan reveals that he is a member of a race of peaceful aliens called the Viltrumites, who came to Earth to help humanity, and that one day Mark will develop his own superpowers. Mark’s powers manifest at the age of 17 while working in his part-time job. Its powers, which increase in strength with use, are: superpower, speed, flight, certain invulnerability and quick healing.
Mark meets a young group of superheroes, the Teen Team (Robot, Dupli-Kate, Rex Splode, and Atom Eve) and discovers that he is going to school with Eve. They find out that one of their teachers turned students into bombs and bombs too. Mark transports it to Antarctica before it explodes. Nolan asks Mark to fight an overpowering alien who visits Earth regularly, but Mark decides to speak to him instead. The alien named Allen explains that it is his job to assess the strength of the superpowerful protectors of the planets.
Mark explains to Allen that he has accidentally come to Earth for decades. When Mark and his friend William are visiting the university they are about to attend, they are attacked by a cyborg who leads William to discover Mark’s powers. Soon after, the Guardians of the Globe are attacked and killed by Omni-Man as part of the Viltrum plan to take control of Earth. A new Guardians of the Globe is formed, but Mark declines membership. He starts dating Amber Bennett. In the meantime, the Mauler twins dig up and revive the Immortal, the leader of the Guardians.
The Immortal attacks Omni-Man, who kills him again in Mark’s presence. Omni-Man reveals that the Viltrumites are actually a race of warriors who conquer planets for their empire and kill anyone who refuses to join. He was sent to Earth as an advanced agent and killed the Guardians in preparation for the invasion. Mark, who refuses his father’s request to join the Viltrumites, attempts to fight him but is almost killed before Omni-Man flies off the planet in tears. Mark is rescued by the US government and introduced to Cecil Steadman, who is charged with protecting the planet. Cecil informed Omni-Man of possible threats and offered Mark the same contract while he financially supported his education and family. Allen the Alien returns to tell Mark that the Viltrumites will invade Earth.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Illustrator: Steve Dillon
Publication: 1995 – 2000
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Preacher tells the story of Jesse Custer, a former pastor who was possessed by a supernatural entity that gives him the power to make anyone obey him. This entity (called Genesis) is a fugitive from Paradise and the angels seek it to arrest it again. When they discover that she and Jesse Custer have become one, the goal becomes to kill him. To this end, they revive a nineteenth-century killer, the Holy of Assassins, and send him in pursuit. Fate makes Jesse find his ex-girlfriend, Tulipa, and with her the most eccentric character in the magazine, the Irish vampire Cassidy.
Both begin to accompany him in his escape from both the police and the Saint. At the end of the first story arc, Custer confronts one of the angels and extracts the information he needed to understand the whole situation, such as the origin of Genesis (the half-breed son of an angel and a demon). When asking why God Himself does not fix the situation, the angel says that God would have given up on humanity and abandoned Heaven. From that moment, Custer decides what to do with his life. He makes the unusual decision to look for God in person and ask for explanations. In the search for his goal, he finds the most diverse obstacles: serial killers, the police, the saint himself and secret organizations like the Grail.
Writer: Mark Millar
Illustrator: Steve McNiven
Publication: July 2006 – January 2007
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After an altercation between the New Warriors (Night Thrasher, Namorita, Speedball and Microbe) and a group of villains (Cobalt Man, Speedfreek, Coldheart and Nitro), more than six hundred residents of the town of Stamford in Connecticut, in the United States, perish when Nitro, a superhuman with destructive powers, destroys several city blocks and their inhabitants. Only one member of the New Warriors, Speedball, survived the blast and was thrown miles away from the scene.
Wounded, he was handed over to the authorities and was held responsible for the death of the 600 inhabitants of the town of Stamford. Opinion turns against the superheroes, deemed morally responsible for the Stamford disaster; Supported by Iron Man, the American government then promulgates a special law by Congress: the law on the census of super-humans. This law requires any super-human to register, reveal their secret identity to the authorities, undergo appropriate training, and work under government orders.
If they do not comply with this law, they will be arrested and placed in detention in prisons designed to accommodate superheroes who have entered illegally. Maria Hill, the director of SHIELD, then asks the legendary Captain America to create a team of registered superheroes to apprehend all the superheroes who would not submit to this new law. Captain America categorically refuses Maria Hill’s offer and is then under threat from SHIELD agents who seek to apprehend her. He manages to escape and forms an underground resistance movement, the Secret Avengers. Hercules, the Falcon, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and the Young Avengers, not wanting to submit to this new law, join the ranks of Captain America.
Nick Fury, former director of SHIELD, offers to help them and accepts that Captain America’s Resistance uses a SHIELD base known only to him. The US government then asks Tony Stark to create a team of superheroes in each state in the Union to enforce the new law. All superheroes will now have to work for the state and disclose their identity. They will also have to prosecute and arrest all the heroes and villains who oppose the new law. Miss Marvel, Yellow Jerkin, The Wasp, Tigra, Wonder Man and Spider-Man become the first superheroes to become conscripts for the US government.
They become the new team of the Mighty Avengers. Tony Stark and Peter Parker, to set an example, both reveal their identities in front of television cameras. However, Peter realizes the danger of revealing his identity when villains like Doctor Octopus prey on his co-workers and threaten his family.
Writer: Gerard Way
Illustrator: Gabriel Bá
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication: September 19, 2007 – 2009, October 3, 2018 – present
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The Umbrella Academy takes place in a universe where 43 women from around the world give birth at noon on October 1, 1989, none of them showing signs of pregnancy before going into labor. Seven of the children are adopted by eccentric billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves and turned into a team of superheroes he calls “The Umbrella Academy”. Hargreeves gives the kids numbers rather than names, but they are ultimately named as Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben, and Vanya by their robot mother, Grace.
While Reginald takes six of her children to work to fight crime, she keeps Vanya away from her siblings’ activities because she allegedly does not demonstrate power of her own. Season one takes place these days where Luther was one of the monkeys and lived on the moon for four years, Allison is a famous actress, Vanya is a violinist, Klaus is a drug addict, went missing five to sixteen years ago, Ben, now deceased, is a ghost who can only talk to Klaus, and Diego has become a vigilante with a penchant for trouble. The separated siblings learn that Reginald is dead and gather for his funeral. Five returnees from the future, pursued by time travelers, show that a global apocalypse is imminent.
Meanwhile, the reunited siblings try to uncover the secret of their dysfunctional family as they begin to go their separate ways due to their different personalities and abilities. The second season takes place immediately after the first season. After failing to stop the apocalypse, the Umbrella Academy must turn back time to save the world. Unfortunately, the time travel turns sour because the siblings in Dallas in the 1960s have had different years behind them.
Five ends on November 25, 1963 amid a nuclear apocalypse, but manages to escape with the help of Hazel. Five discovers that another apocalypse is coming and only have ten days to prevent it. While Five is being hunted down by three Swedish assassins, he must find and reunite his siblings, who have brought new life to life upon their arrival, in order to put an end to this new apocalypse.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Writer: Alan Moore
Illustrator: Kevin O’Neill
Publisher: ABC / Wildstorm / DC Comics
Publication: 1999 – 2019
Buy The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on Amazon.
Wilhelmina Murray is recruited by Campion Bond on behalf of MI5, the British intelligence service, to bring together a diverse group of extraordinary characters to defend the interests of the Empire. She accompanied by Captain Nemo she travels in the Nautilus to Cairo to recruit an Allan Quatermain victim of opium. Together they head to Paris, where Detective Auguste Dupin helps them capture a beast that attacks prostitutes and turns out to be Edward Hyde, the alter ego of Dr. Henry Jekyll.
Back in London, while the secret service deals with the changes of state of Dr. Jekyll, Mina Murray, Quatermain and Nemo investigate the mysterious apparitions of a supposed “Holy Spirit” who assaults the students of a correctional facility for young girls. There they discover that the assailant is Hawley Griffin, The Invisible Man. With this latest addition, the League is formed, whose first mission will be to investigate the theft of cavorite, an antigravity material developed by Dr. Cavor, with which they fear that the enemies of England could use it to attack the Empire. The investigations lead them to the London Limehouse where a powerful Chinese underworld boss, who is none other than Fu Manchu, is building a large airship with which to attack London from the air with the help of the cavorite.
The League manages to recover the cavorite and return it to MI5. Then, thanks to the invisible man, they discover that the head of British intelligence is Professor James Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ arch enemy, who at the same time is the criminal mastermind of the West End and disputes with Fu Manchu the dominance of crime in London . Moriarty has also been building an air warship and needs the cavorite to bombard the East End and take down Fu Manchu. When the League learns of the plans, it tries to stop Moriarty, but the attack has already begun and the flying ship bombards the East End.
In turn, Fu Manchu starts a defensive attack with cannons and kites piloted by warriors who assault the ship. The League, using the Victoria balloon, reaches the airship, confronts Moriarty and releases the cavorite, knocking the ship down. Moriarty disappeared, Mycroft Holmes takes the direction of MI5 and decides to continue counting on the League to serve the interests of England.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Illustrator: Bryan Hitch
Publication: May 1999 – December 2010
Buy The Authority on Amazon.
Authority is a team that acts on a large scale, and in a context of mass destruction. The first three arcs will thus see the destruction of three world metropolises, the invasion of the Earth by a parallel Earth followed by the destruction of a country, or the return of a divine entity determined to recover the Earth. From another perspective, the Authority’s action was eminently political: intervening on a planetary scale, the team exerted an influence on international politics.
However, the first screenwriter Warren Ellis had chosen not to develop this aspect, leaving the interpretation to the discretion of the reader. This changes with the arrival on the team title Mark Millar / Frank Quitely. Retaining the narrative techniques which had made the success of the first numbers, they give Authority an irreverent and quasi-revolutionary character. Heroes fight social injustice, not hesitating to challenge power and break the law when they deem it necessary. For example, we see them violently opposing the American government, which cannot bear to see them constantly interfering with its interests. The series also tackles controversial social issues.
Thus two of the characters form a married homosexual couple who adopt a child; another character faces serious drug addiction issues, overdosing on heroin. These bold themes largely contribute to the success of the series, but also create much controversy in the United States, especially in the climate following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Writer: Garth Ennis
Illustrator: John McCrea
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication: 1993 – 2000
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Tommy Monaghan, a professional killer who lives and works in Gotham City, is the victim of an attack by Glonth, one of the seven shape-shifting, spinal cord-consuming aliens (see Bloodlines series) who were killed after a fight with Lob, fell to earth where they spread fear and terror. The bite inflicted on his neck and the virus that was transmitted in the process do not kill Tommy, but rather equip him with limited X-ray vision (along with jet black eyes) and telepathic abilities.
In contrast to many of his professional colleagues, Monaghan has scruples. B. not someone whom he classifies as the “good” or who, in his opinion, do not deserve to die (which leaves a certain breadth of definition). These include children, police officers or superheroes (such as Batman, Green Lantern and Superman). For this reason, he always works independently and never for a permanent client to whom he is obliged and therefore should possibly shoot someone from the groups of people mentioned. Most of the time he stays at Noonan’s, his favorite bar, which is run by Sean Noonan, a former killer, and a meeting place with friends and colleagues (such as Ringo Chen, Hacken and Natt the Hat) who work in the same trade as Tommy himself.
Tommy’s bookkeeping is handled by his best friend, Pat Noonan, Sean’s nephew, until his death. In one of the first issues , Pat is tortured and fatally injured by Johnny Navarone, a killer who is supposed to eliminate Monaghan, so that Monaghan finds him dying and shoots him with his own hands to relieve him of his pain . In the course of the series, almost all characters are killed, only Baytor, Bueno Excellente, Hacken, Sixpack and Tiegel survive until the end of the series.
V for Vendetta
Writer: Alan Moore
Illustrator: David Lloyd, Tony Weare
Publisher: Quality Communications
Publication: March 1982 – May 1989
Buy V for Vendetta on Amazon.
On November 5 (Guy Fawkes night) 1997, 16-year-old Evey Hammond takes to the streets in London to prostitute herself. Her first client turns out to be a member of The Finger, an orderly force of the fascist regime that has held power in England since the United Kingdom fell apart in the 1989 nuclear war. The man and his colleagues threaten to kill Evey, but she is saved. by the mysterious “V”, a man in a Guy Fawkes mask, who kills the agents.
V takes Evey with him to witness his first major attack from the rooftops: the blowing up of the Palace of Westminster. Evey goes into hiding with V in his hiding place, where he spares a large collection of forbidden art. V continues a series of attacks, mainly targeting former employees of Larkhill concentration camp, where V was the only surviving victim of brutal medical experiments.
He kidnaps Lewis Prothero, the regime’s radio voice, and drives him mad; others he kills. With the help of Evey, who pretends to be even younger than she is, he lures a pedophile bishop into a trap and forces him to eat a poisoned host. Evey gets conscientious objection about her cooperation in V’s violent action and is thrown out by V.
V infiltrates Jordan Tower, the state broadcaster building, takes the broadcasters hostage, and forces them to broadcast an incendiary video message. Evey meanwhile finds shelter with Gordon, an elderly man who treats her lovingly. However, Gordon enters criminal circles and is murdered by the Scottish mafia. When Evey wants to take revenge and target the gangster, she is overpowered from behind.
As soon as she regains consciousness, she will be in jail. She is shaved, inspected, waterboarded, and interrogated. However, she endures all the torture and refuses to sign an incriminating statement about herself and V. As soon as she tells the jailer that she is not afraid of her execution, the jailer declares her freedom and leaves the cell door open. The cell does not appear to have been furnished by the regime but by V.
On the following Guy Fawkes night, November 5, 1998, V blows up Jordan Tower and the Post Office Tower, disabling the regime’s espionage services. He also sends out a message in which he announces this elimination to the world. Food riots break out in various places in England, which appears to cause V: he has taken over the central computer system of the regime that regulates the distribution of goods. In this chaotic state, the regime begins to fall apart; in the highest circles of the party, various figures are preparing to seize power with the help of organized crime.
As soon as party leader Adam Susan is murdered by the disillusioned widow of one of V’s victims, the various plots start working, but (partly due to an intervention by V) the end result is a bloodbath without a clear winner. Meanwhile, Inspector Finch, who has been chasing V for a year, has figured out where his hideout is: in the abandoned Victoria tube station. He shoots V, who is mortally wounded, but before dying appoints Evey as his successor.
She makes it clear to the angry mob of London that V is not dead, contrary to what the regime claims, after which the revolution breaks out. V gets a ‘Viking funeral’ on a subway filled with explosives on the way to Downing Street.
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