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The Boys vol 8: Highland Laddie

The Boys vol 8: Highland Laddie back

Garth Ennis & John McCrea, Keith Burns

Price: 
17.98

Page 45 Review by Stephen

Change of pace and change of scenery for wee Hughie, who retreats home to the relatively tranquil Scottish seaside town of Auchterladle, in order to sort his head out.

His adoptive parents are both sound and doting and delighted to see him. His old friends too whisk him straight down the pub. Unfortunately Hughie soon realises that he'd idealised them in their absence* for they can't resist resurrecting old humiliations and it rubs him up the wrong way. Fortunately as Hughie wanders down the beach on his first night, he discovers a man painting the simmer dim - the evening's permanent summer twilight there - who turns out to be a very good listener, and as the days wander on Hughie finds he's drawn to the sympathetic stranger who lets him offload. But what was done in New York doesn't stay in New York and very soon there's a visitor…

There are some truly touching scenes here, particularly those involving Hughie's adoptive Dad, but also some early traumas as Hughie reflects not just on the circumstances of his leaving New York, but his childhood too. That's quite the tapeworm! But if you think Ennis has left the burlesque behind, think again: a mad Scottish vicar, an enormous woman which gardening sheers who's quite prepared to use them, a smuggling sub-plot and his two friends are… unusual individuals.

I've never seen art like this from McCrea: full of light and space and - thanks to Tony Avina - colour. He works well with Keith Burns. I wonder when Hughie's deception is going to catch up with him?

* Distance makes the heart grow fonder: when my Father moved to the Isle Of Man, he could almost stand me; had he moved all the way to Barbados I might have been able to stand him.

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