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The Boys #39 Full Recap and Review! Really this time!

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  • The Boys #39 Full Recap and Review! Really this time!

    It's been a while since I did a straight-up review, so I thought I'd go Old-School this time.

    Idiot Plot:
    "In literary criticism, 'idiot plot' refers to a plot which is kept in motion solely by virtue of the fact that everybody involved is an idiot."

    Issue #39 opens with Butcher congratulating himself on how smart he is. I'm assuming that there are in-jokes aplenty in this scene, but I'm equally convinced that only Garth Ennis gets them. For example, there's a tech support number taped to the computer, and a Post-It note with what looks like a PIN number. Or maybe the artist just drew his own desk. In any event, Butcher thumbs through Starlight's file, particularly the part where she pulls a train on her first day with the Seven.

    We cut to Soldier Boy's funeral, which is admittedly hilarious because the newspaper headline right below his funeral procession reads "WHEN WILL HE RETURN?" Take THAT, Captain America.

    Butcher also makes a joke about how we still don't know the main badguy at Vought American's name. Someone should point out to him that it's not so much "funny" as it is lazy, silly, and annoying. Especially given the fact that none of the artists involved can draw the guy the same way twice. Words do not exist to describe how little I care about this guy, and he's supposed to be the main villain of the entire friggin' title.

    Next, Hughie has a truly pointless dream about gay aliens. It's painful to read. And really, it's a little late in the game to be revisiting Hughie's personality quirks from THREE FRIGGIN' YEARS ago. The dream morphs into A-Train killing Starlight in much the same way he killed Robin. Don't remember Robin? It's because she was in like, five panels. THREE FRIGGIN' YEARS AGO.

    Next up: Mother's Milk and his breast-feeding fetish. Seriously, I felt my I.Q. dropping through this entire sequence. Yes Garth, we get the joke. But please feel free to beat it to death some more. It just gets funnier and funnier, the way jokes inevitably do the more you repeat them. That's sarcasm, by the way.

    Next up, Ennis crosses off "protracted scene filled with sex toys" from his list of stupid bullshit that has to appear in every Garth Ennis comic. Starlight behaves in a way completely inconsistent with her character, all to justify a repulsive, juvenile gross-out gimmick that's sucked in every comic Ennis has used it in. Seriously, I think the only plot-point Ennis hasn't yet recycled from all his other comics is a bumbling cop named "Soap". But hey, I suppose there's still time.

    We move on to Vought American, where Captain Generic is... uh, NOT taking over the company. For hell's sake. I'm completely unware of why we're spending so much time with this nobody. There's not a single interesting thing about him. Oh, and some chick asks to be on his team. She coyly avoids using his name. See, this whole thing about not knowing his name would be all cool and mysterious if we had any reason at all to give a damn.

    Next, it's your monthly poorly-drawn porn scene with Hughie and Starlight. I guess the point of all this is to show how Annie still bears psychological damage from her sexual escapades with Homelander, A-Train and Black Noir.

    Cut to Frenchie and The Female. He's decided that the way to keep her from murdering random people is to shut her in a room with old magazines. I find myself wondering when she learned to read, given that we were recently shown that she spent 99% of her life locked naked in a cage. Butcher tells Frenchie not to civilize her too much, because it'd be horrible if he couldn't continue to use her as a super-powered instrument of cold-blooded murder. You know- to protect the world from super-powered murderers.

    Frenchie reminds Butcher that Mallory said the Female shouldn't be treated like a dog. Butcher retorts that everything Mallory said was bullshit. This makes it rather difficult to understand why Frenchie (or anyone else, for that matter) would willingly go along with anything Butcher is involved with, given that he's just flat-out telling Frenchie that he doesn't give a damn about The Female beyond her capacity for murder.

    Butcher steps out to go shopping. In an absolutely mind-boggling scene, he's shown walking down Times Square like Toby McGuire in "Spiderman 3", with legions of adoring females checking out his ass. It's especially perplexing when you realize that there's no way they'd even be able to SEE his ass under all that Trench Coat.

    Cutting to the chase: Butcher sees Hughie with Annie, and freaks out. I'm not sure I have the energy to explain, yet again, how stupid this is. I've been saying it for a year now. I guess it's mildly plausible that Hughie wouldn't bother introducing his mega-hot girlfriend to the only friends he has in America... no, wait, it's not. That's not how the male brain works. It is, in fact, complete idiocy. Even if Hughie didn't want to bring Starlight around the office, he'd STILL do what every other guy on the planet does, which is snap a picture on his cell phone, so he could show her off to his friends. But even accepting that Butcher might not know that Hughie is dating Starlight, there's no way in hell that Hughie himself wouldn't know. Knowing is his friggin' job. The sum total of his work-day is spent researching Supes, and yet he doesn't even realize that he's dating a member of the biggest supergroup on the planet? The supergroup, in fact, that murdered his True Love, Robin? The supergroup that killed Mallory's grandkids? The supergroup that is routinely all over the news? The supergroup that, mere months back, invited the Boys to a summit on the Brooklyn Bridge, specifically to put them on notice of an impending war? The supergroup that stuck a thumb up Hughie's ass during Herogasm?

    The only possible explanation is that Hughie is an idiot. And not only that- Butcher is also an idiot, for failing to make sure his new recruit knows who all the members of The Seven are. And Mother's Milk is an idiot for not noticing that Hughie isn't even remotely bothering to keep informed regarding the job they're all doing. And Starlight is an idiot for just blindly accepting that her boyfriend is such a clueless numbskull that he doesn't know who she is. It's kind of like me dating Megan Fox and neither of us being bothered by the fact that I don't know who 'Megan Fox' is... if I were, in fact, a Paparazzi who's sole job was to photograph Megan Fox.

    Sheesh. Butcher recognizes her from across the street, in about five seconds. Hughie remains clueless after sleeping with her for over a year.

    The story ends with Butcher slumped against a building, amazed at the stupidity of the entire plot. It may well be the first instance of a comic-book character becoming self-aware. Butcher literally looks like he can't believe how poorly this arc is written. I wouldn't be surprised if he commits suicide next issue, rather than have to continue to be a part of this storyline.

    Note on next issue: who wants to bet that instead of just walking over to Hughie and Starlight and saying "Hi, any explanation for this wacky misunderstanding?", Butcher does something complex and logistically improbable?
    Last edited by Kamakazi; 02-09-2010, 02:51 PM. Reason: Realized it was a THUMB, not a "thump" that was stuck up Hughie's backside.

  • #2
    I would pay to read a Full Recap and Review of every single comic I like, of course written by you.

    Alas, here we go.

    For a change, I will write my usual academic essay with a sophisticated Like and Dislike list. Of course the Like part is appropriately bigger.


    Things I liked, in order of preference:

    1) It was not another bloody origin issue. I was beginning to fear I would have to read of Annie's childhood and the Legend's school years. Glad we got back on tracks. Next time maybe they will put those nice digressions in a special issue or something, and do a regular series the way regular is meaned in this world.

    2) I was not a filler, more of a recap. Given that we are at the middle turn of the series, it could be welcomed.

    3) Nice to see we're going to hate Butcher for a reason in the near future. It was nearly time.

    4) Vought guy is more interesting than he looks. While I was obviously thinking he got his former boss killed to take his place in command, I am fairly amused to see he couldn't care less for that. He was already in command.

    5) It's also nice to see that the Boys are beginning to show another face. MM has some glass in his head, too, and Frenchie is far more right in his brain than we tought. Nice.

    6) Annie's feeling of guilt after her experimenting phase. That was very very meaningful. Don't stop to heavy vibrators and pervert fantasies. That was classy.

    Misc.) The usual jokes, freaks and assorted Ennis trademark crap.

    Things I disliked:

    1) Deja vu. Past the middle turn of the series, the series' main character takes a walk with his dog and casually runs into the second main character kissing the third main character, something that shatters his very soul. Then what? Butcher loses an eye fighting against the Homelander and later he founds his lost mum in a god-forsaken town in Texas? Aaaw, Ennis, you lazy ass!

    2) Who in the beejuzz name is that yuppie bitch? How I HATE seemingly IMPORTANT characters coming out of nowhere at HALF the series done.


    Note on next issue: who wants to bet that instead of just walking over to Hughie and Starlight and saying "Hi, any explanation for this wacky misunderstanding?", Butcher does something complex and logistically improbable?
    Actually, I am expecting the worst: Butcher secretly unleashing something inexplicably cruel and punishing on poor Hughie, out of pure paranoia and wrath for him joining the enemy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Generally speaking, I fully agree with you here.

      Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chrisnuttall View Post
        Generally speaking, I fully agree with you here.

        Chris
        Heya Chris;
        I want you to know that you inspired me to write a full review again. I think it's been four months or so since I did anything other than little comedy pieces, like I did for The Female's origin.

        But now that I've gotten the serious work of Mean-Spirited Recapping out of the way, I'll tell you what I actually liked about this issue: It at least hints that Ennis is going to start addressing a few lingering plot holes. As much as I like to rib the guy, I feel reasonably sure that he's going to kick the plot back in to gear fairly shortly. I'll betting that even Ennis realized that the book had gotten overly dark towards the end of the "We Gotta Go Now" and "Payback" arcs, and went Goofy on us just to lighten the mood a bit.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Boris View Post
          1) Deja vu. Past the middle turn of the series, the series' main character takes a walk with his dog and casually runs into the second main character kissing the third main character, something that shatters his very soul. Then what? Butcher loses an eye fighting against the Homelander and later he founds his lost mum in a god-forsaken town in Texas? Aaaw, Ennis, you lazy ass!
          Dammit man, that was funnier, wittier, and more insightful than ANYTHING I wrote! Now I'm going to have to do a Photoshop of The Boys done up as the Preacher crew.

          Originally posted by Boris View Post
          Actually, I am expecting the worst: Butcher secretly unleashing something inexplicably cruel and punishing on poor Hughie, out of pure paranoia and wrath for him joining the enemy.
          Yeah, that's my fear as well. I'm personally betting on him showing the video of Starlight to Hughie, which will make no sense because it simultaneously assumes that Butcher believes Hughie DOES know who she is, and is therefore guilty of consorting with the enemy, and DOESN'T know who she is, and will therefore be shocked to learn that she's blowing Homelander.

          Of course, logically speaking, there's no reason why Butcher should believe, under any circumstances, that Hughie doesn't know who Starlight is. It's not like she wears glasses in civilian mode, ala Clark Kent, to make herself unrecognizable.

          Comment


          • #6
            To be fair to Ennis (not something I feel any great inclination to be after this issue) one doesn't normally expect to be running into famous people in the streets. Supermodels and pop stars probably look a lot more normal in real life. Hughie didn't meet Annie wearing her costume, but normal clothes in a normal place. Once he'd done that, he might not have realised that Annie and the glamerous Starlight were one and the same.

            Butcher, of course, never actually met her in person. She wasn't at the meeting on the bridge. He saw her for the first time in Hughie's arms...

            Chris

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chrisnuttall View Post
              To be fair to Ennis (not something I feel any great inclination to be after this issue) one doesn't normally expect to be running into famous people in the streets. Supermodels and pop stars probably look a lot more normal in real life.

              Chris

              More normal, sure, but you'd still probably say "Hey, you look a lot like Uma Thurman" if you ran into Uma Thurman at the grocery story. And that's probably what bugs me the most about this plot point: it's so easily resolved. One panel a year or so ago where Hughie says "Gee, you kinda look like that Starlight chick" and Starlight responds "Yeah, I get that all the time, weird isn't it?" and I'm no longer bitching about this every single month. Something else, sure, but not this particular problem.

              My beef with Ennis is not that he's a bad writer. It's that he's somehow convinced himself that we're more interested in Hughie and Starlight's preferences in sex toys than we are in a plausible explanation for why Hughie doesn't recognize her. We've had pages upon pages of them boning, but he couldn't spare us one single panel wherein Annie tells Hughie that she's a professional Starlight impersonator with the cast of "SEVEN: THE MUSICAL."

              Comment


              • #8
                Actually, Hughie didn't ever see Annie as Starlight, neither in media or live.

                He doesn't even know that the Seven have a member named Starlight.

                But then, he doesn't even know what his girlfriend does for a living (he's supposed to be an insurance manager or something), something that I find more inaccurate than media coverage. After all, I don't know zip about who is who in, say, this year's most famous reality, and it isn't impossible that my girlfriend acted in it and I don't know, expecially if she doesn't want me to know. But, at least, I would ask what's her job.

                On the other side, it's Butcher's deep interest for Starlight what really puzzles me.
                She looks like his most urgent issue N3, right after Vought Guy and the Homelander. Why she's so important (or dangerous) in his eyes? For all he knows, her worst crime was being a bukkake queen with the Seven.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Kamikaze- I've said it before and I'll say it again. Hughie doesn't know about the Seven because he has no reason to believe they'll actually take on the Seven. You think a college football teams scout teams that aren't on their schedule? Waste of time and effort. Besides, the bugs are presumably still in place there, with M.M. and Butcher monitoring. And if I were Hughie, I'd be convinced that Butcher's already an expert on anything to do with the Seven.

                  Again, I don't think Annie is at the pop-culture relevancy level that would warrant her immediate recognition out in public. Even if she is part of the Seven, she's basically just a bit player. Homelander, Black Noir and Queen Maeve apparently are the real stars. Megan Fox isn't an accurate comparison. The actress who played the mom in the tranformers would be a better one (in terms of recognizabilty, not hotness.) Someone a lot of people see, but might not immediately trigger recognition.

                  Boris-regarding Butcher's initial motive for targeting Annie was probably for blackmail. He had the tape, he knew of her time with the Young Americans ,and the conservative Christian crowd she was supposedly part of. A threat of a partially edited video (removing the ultimatum from the Homelander, making it look like she did it of her own free will) being released to the news would have had her spying on her teammates for him. If you recall the Get Some arc, you'll remember Butcher pulled a similar trick on Eagle the archer.

                  Of course, now that Butcher knows Annie's dating Hughie, his interest in her has shifted.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Boris View Post
                    Actually, Hughie didn't ever see Annie as Starlight, neither in media or live.
                    He doesn't even know that the Seven have a member named Starlight.
                    Boris, I love you man, but how have you gone this long without realize that this is my entire point? Starlight has been a member of the Seven for THREE YEARS now, and Hughie as been a member of a group who's main purpose is to monitor the Seven for that very same THREE YEARS. And yet he's never seen her in the media, and doesn't even know who the members of the Seven are.

                    And now, for BP:
                    Kamikaze- I've said it before and I'll say it again. Hughie doesn't know about the Seven because he has no reason to believe they'll actually take on the Seven.
                    Yes, after all, it's not like the Seven raped Butcher's wife. And burned Mallory's grandkids alive. Or turned Hughie's girlfriend into raspberry jelly. Or were responsible for destroying the Brooklyn bridge and killing a plane full of civilians. And it's not like Butcher formed the Boys specifically to eventually kill Homelander. And the Boys have certainly never taken on any other Supergroups- it's not like they murdered every member of Payback, basically for bruising the Female. Obviously, Hughie would have no reason whatsoever to acknowledge the existence of The Seven, let alone take fifteen seconds over the course of three years to look at a picture of them. I'm also fairly certain that The Seven NEVER appear on magazine covers or in the news, because after all, why would the seven biggest celebrities in the world get any media coverage?
                    Last edited by Kamakazi; 02-12-2010, 11:12 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                      Boris, I love you man, but how have you gone this long without realize that this is my entire point? Starlight has been a member of the Seven for THREE YEARS now, and Hughie as been a member of a group who's main purpose is to monitor the Seven for that very same THREE YEARS. And yet he's never seen her in the media, and doesn't even know who the members of the Seven are.

                      e?
                      It's pretty clear from Frenchie's story that the Boys do monitor the 7.

                      Chris

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                        Boris, I love you man, but how have you gone this long without realize that this is my entire point? Starlight has been a member of the Seven for THREE YEARS now, and Hughie as been a member of a group who's main purpose is to monitor the Seven for that very same THREE YEARS. And yet he's never seen her in the media, and doesn't even know who the members of the Seven are.

                        Ok, just because I love you too, here is definitive proof Hughie is brain dead.


                        We all know that sex with a supe is not easy work.
                        Intercourse with a V-powered male ape is something that leaves scars (and quite bad open wounds, btw), as Ennis thoroughly explains all over the series.
                        And Hughie knows it.

                        But, hey! Hughie IS superpowered. And he's far stronger than four outta five supes out there.

                        Now, if I were him, I would have asked myself: "Why doesn't my girlfriend tear open and die screaming every time I hit her with my unstoppable Super Drill of Power? Unless she's... oh, my!!!"

                        Give the guy a Sex Ed nobel prize, really.

                        I'm a bit shocked Ennis didn't consider THAT.


                        Then, back to Narrative Logic.
                        Hughie has been pretty busy with the Boys in those three years, going from surveillance to investigation, intercontinental travels, undercover ops, all out brawls.
                        And the only things Butcher gave him to read were a lame comic and the G-Men dossier. Plus, he's got the stories from the Legend, and some details from his pals.
                        Then, it should be clear that Butcher, for whatever reason, doesn't want him to know too much, expecially about the Seven.

                        In the end, I can excuse him for not doing his homework.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          To be honest I'm not crazy about this issue either, was really sub-par imo, I even agree with some of your points.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Brain Dead Hughie!!

                            Great discussion!!

                            Here's my take on things:

                            Hughie is brain dead!

                            BUT, he has been led in that direction... He was naturally gullible (conspiracy theories, aliens etc.), without much initiative (signed all paperwork and didn't ask for money or any deal after his girlfriend was killed)... and a little innocent (eyes closed to the real world) which are big parts of why Butcher picked him to join the team in the first place. Hughie has been manipulated all along, and hasn't figured it out yet... He has been given information on a "need to know" basis and knows he is the low man on the totem pole. Butcher has used this to make Hughie feel like he has to "prove himself" to the more experienced and worldly members of the Boys and is treated as the "little brother".... I've never seen Hughie on the computer with any real level of access to information.... Hughie has been fed that Vought American are the true enemy by MM, the Legend and Butcher... Legend even weaves the tale about VA and the Seven in such a way that he revealed very little about Butcher, Mallory and The Boys history.... Hughie has accepted that The Seven are in the "Big Leagues" and probably assumes Butcher, Frenchie and MM are monitoring them, so he doesn't need to know much about them....Until they tell him he "needs to know".... This makes Hughie far too trusting of Butcher than he should be... The nagging doubts Hughie has about whether he really wants to be in The Boys are really the only smart thing about Hughie....

                            After all, Hughie was just "recruited", forcibly injected with Compound V and then pointed at targets (Tek-Knight, the reanimated Blarney Cock, The G-Men) or told to tag along to "learn the ropes" and just monitor surveillance equipment (Teenage Kix, Herogasm). His major role in "Glorious 5 Year Plan" was accidental (everyone else was poisoned)...

                            That being said, I agree that any rational person would have a natural curiosity about the group whose member (A-Train) killed their loved one. Additionally, after hearing how The Boys and The Seven had their run-in in the past, any logical person would want to know as much information as possible on The Seven because another run-in would be nearly inevitable... Hughie even made a phone call to The Seven HQ with G-Whiz... And it didn't spark any curiosity as to who the current team members are?!

                            Both The Boys and The Seven have taken efforts to keep their newer members out of the loop regarding the past (Hughie, A-Train and Starlight were all kept out of the face-to-face meeting). The Seven probably don't want to let the newer members have any "dirt" on them. The Boys probably don't think Hughie is ready for the big leagues, or want to keep The Seven unaware of Hughie.... But, Hughie should want to know about The Seven, and more than what the Legend told him and what he reads in comic books...

                            Maybe Hughie avoids job talk because he feels guilty lying about his own job... But, he's gotta think it's strange that Annie never really gives any details about her work or he never stops by her office for lunch etc.

                            But, Boris makes the most obvious point of all... After seeing Teenage Kix in action and what happened at Herogasm, how can Hughie think Annie can handle him in the sack?! The two of them go at it quite a bit...

                            Butcher may have the self-control not to rip Rayner in half (that's probably something that turns Rayner on, in fact). But, it doesn't appear that Hughie has the skill(?) sophistication(?) personal restraint(?) to hold back at all...

                            Anyway, the end result is Butcher is going to think Hughie has been seduced and potentially turned against him. That makes Hughie a liability and someone who needs to be removed from the field of play...

                            I thought the whole issue was a set up for the second half of the series and Ennis showed some of the weaknesses of the main characters that may have a big impact on what happens next:

                            Butcher: Overconfident, manipulative and callous, only cares about his personal agenda, others are tools to that end...

                            MM: Big time Momma and women issues... Understandable, but sad... and shows why he can't deal with his daughter...

                            Frenchman: Too attached to The Female, not as 100% loyal to Butcher as he seems..

                            Female: Never REALLY going to be able to deal appropriately with her violent desires and be a part of society...

                            Annie: Still trying to figure out who she is, and deal with what she's done in the past....

                            Hughie: Brain Dead... No clue about relationships, easily led around by the nose...

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