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The Frenchman: What We "Know"

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  • The Frenchman: What We "Know"

    Ahhhh, le Frenchman!

    He is ever the enigma, wrapped in a conundrum, shrouded in le mystère... He has a poet's heart with a berserker’s fury and is as looney as Looney Tunes

    And on that note, What we "know"

    WWK Superpowers: Frenchman possesses similar strength durability and enhanced reflexes as Butcher, Hughie and Mallory because he was recruited and given the Compound V injection. But, we have witnessed him using an enhanced sense of smell to track thugs (Glorious 5 Year Plan). Also, despite its' usefulness, his lack of normal human restraint, appears not to be a superpower (or a result of anything to do with The Boys).

    WWDK: IF The Frenchman got the same shot as the others, he should manifest the same powers... right?

    WWK: Family: Hmmmm, it appears he had a mother and father. Both are deceased according to his background story, if it is to be believed. And their death led to a despair in which his life had no purpose (until he was found and recruited by Butcher).

    WWDK: Does anyone truly believe all aspects of that origin story? Look at the source!

    WWK: Motivations: The Frenchman is intensely loyal to Butcher and therefore The Boys because Butcher saved him from a life of despair... The Frenchman also appears to genuinely care for The Female...

    WWDK: (See last WWDK... wash, rinse, repeat)

    WWK: Experience: Military experience in le Legion! The Frenchman has experienced more than his fair share of modern warfare! Do you think the CIA would actually try to train this guy? He appears to be trained in monitoring high tech surveillance equipment. The Frenchman is also displayed on several occasions that he is a learned expert in all aspects of French culture and history, especially military history.

    WWDK: (See last WWDK... wash, rinse, repeat)

    Hmmm, the only big question left for the Frenchman is “Will the Frenchman’s REAL origin story ever be told (and will it be anything similar to the story the Frenchman told)?

  • #2
    I am more than disappointed

    Up until now I was willing to overlook all of the Boys' (considerable) shortcomings. But I just don't know what to do with this issue.

    Is it supposed to be satire? Slapstick? Does Mr. Ennis really intend this to be an origin story and wants to leave it at that?

    A Frenchman that doesn't speak French - hell, an entire village of them. (Is that bad editing, like the toenail-curling French and German dialogues in "Lucifer" or is there a point to it? Why is the village called Franglais - a mixture of the words for "french" an "english".) A Frenchman that is called Frenchie, even at home. I will overlook the Baguette-duels, as they are obviously meant to be funny - but what is really happening here?

    Did any of you find a grain of motivation for him to want to beat up Superhumans for the rest of his life?

    I get the feeling that the whole series consists of 10 % brilliance, 10 % ridiculousness and 80 % treading water. This is a mixture between the last two.


    Sorry Hot_Ch0c0, didn't want to hijack your thread, so I'd like to add a point or two.

    Superpowers: He doesn't necessarily need to have the same powers as the others. We learned in the G-men story-arch that different people react differently to Compound V. You just don't know until the superpowers manifest.
    I always wondered why no-one of the boys could fly.This seems to be rather common among the other super-guys. Frenchie at least seems to have the ability to jump quite far and still live as we see in this issue. Or can he fly?

    Experience: Was he supposed to be part of the "Légion Étrangère"? As far as I am aware of there are NO native french people in there. One of the benefits of joining the Legion is that you get a new identity and (eventually) a french passport. But yes, his military training would have been first class that way.

    Still no explanation for the stupid goggles.

    Did you notice how he speaks excellent English in the Bar scene?
    Last edited by sproxx; 12-09-2009, 05:57 PM.

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    • #3
      His background is not to be believed at all Sproxx, I think the fact the people in an unexisting supposedly based in france village call him "Frenchman" sells it, and really, Baguette Duels?
      In fact, I now don't even think he's actually french, his french always had a ton of gramatical errors, I blamed it on editing, seems like I underestimated Mr. Ennis, getting to the end of this and seeing Butcher's line as I was contemplating how nonsensical the whole thing was made me go "Touché.".

      Frenchie's mad, that's the point, he's absofuckinglutely insane and I wouldn't be surprised if he actually believed his own story as a way to justify his own sadistic impulses, and I'd be ok with it not being explained at all, past this.

      Edit: also, is there any rule I missed about everyone in the team having to hate superheroes unrelently? Butcher hired Frenchie, gave him a purpose in life, that's all the justification he needed to crack some skulls.
      Last edited by Claus_x; 12-09-2009, 09:08 PM.

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      • #4
        That's what I thought, when I first read it. But Garth Ennis has a history of 2-dimensional, distorted, just-for-laughs french characters in his work (the horse-meat guy in "Preacher" and the annoying soldier who in the end got all the credit for dropping an H-bomb on whatever island it was they were fighting on in "Punisher") that I wouldn't be surprised if he just left it at that.

        I sooo hope you are right.

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        • #5
          The Frenchman's story is obviously bull, either an elaborate lie or delusional memory. Butcher's quote at the end implies that. "Last line's the bit that counts, mate."

          Now that I've thought about it a bit, I think Frenchie's supposed to be a parody/commentary on Wolverine (the character, not the costume that was portrayed in the G-men arc). I'm thinking he did have military service somewhere, something traumatic happened(no doubt VA is involved) , he repressed/lost his memory, and Butcher finds him and fills his head with the story he told Hughie. Another similarity is his relationship with the Female. Wolverine's had a mentor-like relationship/partnership with younger female teammates before (Kitty Pryde, Jubilee) and I think the Frenchie/Female dynamic is supposed to make some commentary on that.

          Comment


          • #6
            I disagree phoenix, Frenchie doesn't hit me as anywhere close to wolverine. I doubt the military experiment thing, too, he definetly served some time, though, as Butcher had a file in his hands making that clear, I believe, and makes a lot of sense if VA is involved with some trauma of his, although I'd like to think they're not, I like the "butcher just needed a crazy motherfucker" angle, still believe he had a trauma while he served, though.
            Last edited by Claus_x; 12-09-2009, 09:08 PM.

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            • #7
              Hmmm...

              Claus_X, and blackphoenix,

              Great point on questioning whether The Frenchman is even french! The most interesting thing about his background is that SOMEHOW Mallory and Butcher felt the need to recruit him as a team member and decided to give him some of their highly expensive Compound V, a huge investment... a complete nutcase would potentially be as much of a danger to them as to the targets they would send him after... As you said Butcher's line at the end is what's important. But, how do you get unquestioning loyalty from a madman? Why give a guy like that superpowers? There has to be some story there.... Only Mallory's not currently around and Butcher only tells people what he wants them to know...

              The Frenchman could definitely have some horrible memories or experiences (related to VA or some supe) that his brain has suppressed and his old real life has been replaced by the delusional Frenchman identity and memories... We'll have to wait and see, I guess... He could have been tortured, a part of an experiment or even an employee of VA who deeply regrets the things he did or witnessed to the point he snapped.... who knows?

              Originally posted by sproxx View Post
              Superpowers: He doesn't necessarily need to have the same powers as the others. We learned in the G-men story-arch that different people react differently to Compound V. You just don't know until the superpowers manifest.
              I always wondered why no-one of the boys could fly.This seems to be rather common among the other super-guys. Frenchie at least seems to have the ability to jump quite far and still live as we see in this issue. Or can he fly?
              Sproxx,

              The Compound V that Butcher, Frenchman and Hughie got was part of a special highly refined stock that Mallory stole from VA. Each shot cost 19 Billion. Butcher gave Hughie the shot and knew EXACTLY what would happen to him (issue 4). When Hughie asks how his DNA will change, Butcher says he will be "15 to 20 times stronger". The Legend also talks about this 19 billion per shot stock and mentions it to Hughie in issue 19 calling it a “permanent boost to the system” that made Hughie more powerful than most of the supes out there. MM recently mentioned the shot again in issue 35. What the G-Men got was not specially refined and more random, that explains why their powers were random (and why some G-Whiz members actually died as a reaction to their Compound V injection).

              I suspect that Mallory stole some special stock that Vogelbaum himself refined (or Vogelbaum directly supervised the refinement), and the other supes (not the original Seven) mostly got Compound V created by VA based only on Vogelbaum’s notes after Vogelbaum committed suicide…

              I always thought The Frenchman put on the goggles because he's messy and he just doesn't want to get blood in his eyes...
              Last edited by Hot_Ch0c0; 12-11-2009, 09:06 PM.

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              • #8
                I tend to agree that there’s a lot about the Frenchman’s story that doesn’t add up to the manic we know and love. Quite apart from the odd village and the language, it doesn’t really lead to a man who is normally mild-mannered and unassuming – until he goes completely batshit crazy.

                There’s no real evidence that he hates supes, really. He beats up on the mafia and Russian hoods with as little concern as he beats up on G-Men. I don’t know, but there’s a lot that really looks odd, at least from our point of view.

                Butcher’s selection criteria is a little odd. MM makes sense because of his background. The Frenchman makes sense if we assume that he had prior military experience – he certainly displays it in G5YP and speaks about war in the following storyline – but that makes Female and Hughie the odd ones out. Why were they both selected? The Female is a killing machine, yet Butcher relies on her. Hughie…has a good reason to hate supes, but otherwise doesn’t quite come up to bill. The Boys should be training him, yet he didn’t do that well against Payback or even G-Wiz.

                Why Hughie?

                Chris

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                • #9
                  What? Bitching is occurring, and I'm not part of it? I'm fairly certain that that's some form of copyright infringement.

                  I haven't bothered to recap the past two issues because, frankly, I just couldn't drum up the necessary energy. In order to be snarky about the comic, I at least have to care about the comic, and the past two issues have been impossible to care about.

                  In Ennis-land, all Negros are crack-dealing, Afro-wearing, whore-banging thugs who speak in Cartoon Ebonics. All French people are Pepe La Pew. (Google it.) The question of whether we're supposed to believe Frenchie's origin seems completely irrelevant. The bigger issue is that, when presented with doing an issue about a French guy, this is what immediately springs into Ennis's mind.

                  But regardless of the truthfullness of Frenchie's backstory, the fact remains that Butcher apparently randomly picked the craziest, most homicidal lunatic he could find, and then doped him up with 19 billion dollars worth of Compound V. And the CIA let him do it. And why? To... uh, combat the growing threat of crazy, homicidal lunatics who are doped up with Compound V. Yeah, that makes lots of sense. Remember the first time we ever saw Frenchie? He murdered three people in a Starbucks. Not three Supes, or even three criminals- he just murdered three normal (by Ennis standards) people.

                  Personally, I expect The Female's backstory to be something like this: "After her parents are killed during the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, The Female is sold as a Geisha to Bruce Lee. She is tentacle-raped by Godzilla, and survives only by becoming a Sushi Chef for a local Kung Fu school. She can't talk because Jackie Chan ripped out her vocal cords in revenge for her killing his Master."
                  Last edited by Kamakazi; 12-14-2009, 03:24 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Well, one of the five Boys is Black and doesn't act like a parody. Hell, there are good grounds for declaring MM the most moral of The Boys. And then there's his family, which - let's face it - was a pretty good one, despite all the bad stuff that happened to them.

                    And the story did follow Butcher and MM into a crack-dump, so how do you expect them to talk?

                    Chris

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You're right, MM is clearly supposed to be the Moral Core of the Boys, and it's too bad that we don't see more of him functioning in that capacity. He's probably the most under-utilized character in the book.

                      To answer your question about the AfroDrugLord guy: Why not have him talk like Will Smith? But on a more serious note: I do understand that need to quickly establish characterization, and since Ennis doesn't have the luxury of having us hear a bad-ass Samuel L. Jackson voice, he had to rely on the Ebonics thing. I'm not really faulting him for that, although I reserve the right to come back and make fun of him some more if at any point The Female starts talking like Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffanys".

                      BTW, no matter how much I bad-mouth poor Ennis, I like his work, and I prefer his literary problems over those of guys like Bendis any day of the week. If you ever really want to seem me explode in a seething fireball of pure, unmitigated hate towards a comic, ask me to recap an issue of the current run of Iron Man. Or the third run of the Ultimates.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Claus_x View Post
                        I disagree phoenix, Frenchie doesn't hit me as anywhere close to wolverine. I doubt the military experiment thing, too, he definetly served some time, though, as Butcher had a file in his hands making that clear, I believe, and makes a lot of sense if VA is involved with some trauma of his, although I'd like to think they're not, I like the "butcher just needed a crazy motherfucker" angle, still believe he had a trauma while he served, though.
                        I didn't mean that Frenchie is an out-and-out allegory of Wolverine (the way Soldier Boy is of Captain America), just more than a few similarities. I never said he might have been part of a military experiment, just something traumatic enough to repress his memory, and allow Butcher to fill his head with baguette jousting. Before Marvel revealed Wolverine's real origin, they got a few good years' worth of stories out of him trying to discover which of his memories were real, and which ones were implanted by Weapon X. Ennis took the premise of implanting memories, twisted it around by making the "good guys" do it, and made the fake memories extremely silly. That, Frenchman's close relationship with the Female and his unrestrained fighting style lead me to believe that he's supposed to be about Wolverine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I do support the delusional delirium theory, of course. Before his "origin" tale, I was actually surprised Ennis didn't make fun of a French character for a time.

                          One more thing:
                          Given that Ennis recycles crap more efficiently than a German powerplant, there is indeed a precedent: The Major from Bloody Mary, that seems to suffer from the same "psycho killer pretending to be a stereotypical parody character" syndrome.


                          And by the way, Kamakazi is just me when I drink my Dr. Jekyll potion.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Boris View Post
                            And by the way, Kamakazi is just me when I drink my Dr. Jekyll potion.
                            I wasn't supposed to tell them that!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Or Frenchie did it himself.

                              I mean, there are so many odd points about him. His spoken French is badly incorrect. His family story is more than a little weird. Could it be that he's not French at all - or, perhaps, that he's playing a role for whatever reason, rather than being...just himself?

                              That said, he could have false memories from his life. What if he snapped and killed his family himself? What if he blamed himself for his parents death and told that story to make it seem partly silly? I mean, it really wasn't his fault that his dad decided to complete...

                              Chris

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