Robertson finally gets to cut loose with Malchemical and I was seriously digging all the monstrous forms this evil elemental took. The whole point of the issue is "hitting the fan" after both the characters and readers have been lulled into a false sense of security, and the art's makes a suitably-dramatic shift to match Super Duper's "rude awakening." I was also impressed by the amount of emotions Ennis was able to convey in single scenes here. Somehow, you've got this genuinely touching character turn in Wee Hughie helping these "children" (even though they're still capes) as well as a genuinely tense confrontation with this seemingly-unstoppable foe, while the book still maintains its signature black humor. That's really no small feat.
As much as I love Ennis' dialogue, some of the phone conversations ran a little long, especially when the other members of the Boys were trading monologues over this whole fiasco. Also, I understand that Hughie's supposed to be the rookie on the team (and it was addressed by the other characters) but it still seems like an exceptionally-boneheaded move for an agent in this universe to try taking a powerful enemy like Malchemical on in a fist fight.
The Verdict - 4/5
I've had my issues with this title covering familiar ground when it came to satirizing superheroes, but I was too caught up in the characters and the story to mind any of that with this issue. As I said, there's some real drama to Hughie's desperate attempt to save Super Duper and, barring the small issues I mention in "The Bad", this continues to be one of the best executed books on the shelves right now. Between this and the Lone Ranger, it's clear that Dynamite's offering a superior catalog of titles.