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The Boys #40 Full Recap And Review! It's not what you think, REALLY!

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  • The Boys #40 Full Recap And Review! It's not what you think, REALLY!

    Let me get this out of the way right up front: I liked this issue. Except for one or two inevitable gripes, this is probably my favorite issue of The Boys in over a year. I left my actual copy at home, so I'm gonna recap this baby from memory! Which means I'll probably get it all wrong. But here goes anyway.

    Garth Ennis reads my recaps!
    Okay, probably not. But regardless, he certainly addresses my constant bitching from the last year or so. As we tune in to Butcher, he's visiting The Legend, who basically calls bullshit on the entire Hughie and Startlight storyline. And it really needed to happen, because at least ONE of the characters had to point out how improbable it is that Hughie has no clue he's dating Starlight. And so the Legend does. Butcher and the Legend basically lay out all my objections, and then...

    ...okay, I'll admit it, Ennis does a pretty good job here of making me happy. The plot still doesn't make much sense, but at least the characters are acknowledging how improbable it all is, and that's all I ever really wanted. It's like in "Return of the Jedi" where Luke finally points out that Obi-Wan originally told him his father was dead. Obi-Wan musters a half-assed "when Anakin turned to the Dark Side, he was dead to me" retort, which, although completely retarded, at least acknowledged the plot hole.

    So fine. Hughie never noticed that he's dating Starlight. I think it's stupid, the Legend thinks it's stupid, Butcher thinks it's stupid... but there you have it. I'm done prodding that particular dead horse, and we're all the happier for it.

    Next we cut to Captain No-Name, who's meeting with the chick who wants to be his protege. Since I have to bitch about something, let me point out that the art in this title is so erratic that it literally appears as though Protege Chick has changed Races since last issue from Asian to African.

    She asks him why he doesn't just kill Homelander and be done with it. He mutters something about money. Which makes no sense. And I can hear you right now, saying "Holy SHIT Kamakazi, WHY must you insist on this comic book making sense? WHY can't you just sit back and enjoy the show? WHY DO YOU CARE, MAN? WHY?"

    I have no good answer. But since we've established that I'm hopelessly addicted to doing essentially pointless things, here's why the whole "Vought needs Supes to make money" thing makes no sense. It costs BILLIONS of dollars to create even one Supe. Exactly how many t-shirts do you think they have to sell to pay for creating someone like Homelander?

    Anyway, we're left with the strong impression that Captain No-Name would just as soon be rid of all the Supes, just as soon as he can figure out a different revenue stream. He is apparently unaware that he works for a company that shares the same business plan as these guys:


    During the conversation, we're treated to a full-page spread of Homelander ripping the baby out of a pregnant woman and eating it, then ripping the penis off a guy and then literally skull-f**king him. Since this is Ennis we're dealing with, none of what I just described is a metaphor.

    The problem with all of this is that Ennis keeps making Homelander so sporadically evil. Half the time Homelander is goofy comic relief, and the next he's the baby-eating scourge of penises everywhere. Since we haven't been given an explanation for any of this other than the same kind of half-hearted "we suddenly realized we need a villain" silliness that turned Stormfront into Hitler a few issues ago, I'm finding it really hard to care. If The Boys were to throw down against The Seven next issue, I'd be rooting for The Seven.

    Next up, we have SuperDooper, who are apparently "good" Supes. The problem though is that the way Ennis establishes that they're "good" is to have one of them intermittently scream something so foul that I'm pretty sure repeating it would get me banned from the forums of the very same company that's publishing the book. I have no idea what kind of twisted childhood Ennis had that rendered him incapable of producing a single virtuous or decent thought, but from a literary standpoint, I'd merely say "If you can't write normal people, don't even try".

    Anyway, Vought is sending a Bad Guy to lead SuperDooper. Why? So that Hughie can rescue them next issue. Honestly, that appears to be their only motivation. "Let's do something dickish to advance the plot of the fictional universe in which we live." Of course, several of them will be raped, murdered, debased and defiled before Hughie inevitably rides to the rescue, because that's pretty much the only reason Ennis ever has women, children, or animals in his books these days.

    Cut to Butcher, telling Hughie to go look after SuperDooper. Hughie complains, because he'd tired of Butcher showing up and slaughtering everyone. A good point, actually. But on the other hand, since he knows that's all Butcher ever does, why is he still working for him? It's like working for McDonalds and complaining about the grease content of their fries.

    There's a weird moment when Hughie tells Butcher that he wants to stay and finish up with his research on The Seven, because "He's only up to 2002." It's weird because Butcher reacts as though he's trying to keep Hughie from finding out who Annie is. Which doesn't make sense. This is the exact problem with this arc. It relies on everyone being a jackass insted of just asking each other obvious questions. "Hey Hughie, couldn't help but notice that you're dating Starlight. Want to explain that before I open up your skull with a crowbar?"

    Mother's Milk clearly realizes something is up. Even though he has no reason to think this. Butcher is just sending Hughie out to spy on Supes, which is his exact job description. Hughie finally agrees to go, but only with a "no random murder" clause firmly in place.

    We close with Hughie at the airport with Annie. He tells her he loves her. She reciprocates. Ah, young love. Butcher watches from the sidelines. I have no idea what he thinks he's accomplishing. Wouldn't just bugging Hughie's apartment have settled the issue? Or just walking up to them and saying "hi"? What's all this sneakiness going to accomplish that a straight-up confrontation wouldn't?

    Anyway. I'm giving this issue an 8 out of 10, because it did in fact address some of the dangling plot threads, and served to move us forward.
    Last edited by Kamakazi; 03-08-2010, 07:47 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
    Since I have to bitch about something, let me point out that the art in this title is so erratic that it literally appears as though Protege Chick has changed Races since last issue from Asian to African.
    I've thought she could be Italian or maybe Latina? I forget her name. Are there any clues there? Was her name "Angela"?
    She asks him why he doesn't just kill Homelander and be done with it. He mutters something about money. Which makes no sense. And I can hear you right now, saying "Holy SHIT Kamakazi, WHY must you insist on this comic book making sense? WHY can't you just sit back and enjoy the show? WHY DO YOU CARE, MAN? WHY?"

    I have no good answer. But since we've established that I'm hopelessly addicted to doing essentially pointless things, here's why the whole "Vought needs Supes to make money" thing makes no sense. It costs BILLIONS of dollars to create even one Supe. Exactly how many t-shirts do you think they have to sell to pay for creating someone like Homelander?
    Great point. VA has made huge investments into their supes (supes saved the company in fact). However, since 9/11 supes have shown how ineffective they would be in the military. They are also highly unstable and dangerous to the public (Homelander is a perfect example, or all of the G-Men). VA Guy probably thinks it makes sense to get VA out of the supe business before a MAJOR catastrophe happens that would turn the world against supes and destroy VA in the process. (history repeating itself because VAC already went down that road in Vietnam) At some point, VA guy realized supes are a liability... Profitable now, but eventually self-destructive... I doubt even VA are aware of his true agenda... Or maybe, VA guy just wants to get rid of the spandex and bright colors and truly develop "enhanced soldiers" for the military... Regardless, he probably feels VA are sitting on a time bomb. And his quote to Butcher about VA being able to "clean up" their own "shit" is really interesting now... Because he may not have been only talking about the G-Men...

    You can't exactly "recall" defective superheroes

    Next up, we have SuperDooper, who are apparently "good" Supes. The problem though is that the way Ennis establishes that they're "good" is to have one of them intermittently scream something so foul that I'm pretty sure repeating it would get me banned from the forums of the very same company that's publishing the book. I have no idea what kind of twisted childhood Ennis had that rendered him incapable of producing a single virtuous or decent thought, but from a literary standpoint, I'd merely say "If you can't write normal people, don't even try".
    I'm guessing the guy has Tourette Syndrome with Coprolalia (involuntary swearing and uttering obscenity). Since it is neurological, it may explain why he can't properly use his powers and "transforms" into and anvil instead of... whatever he is supposed to turn into...

    There's a weird moment when Hughie tells Butcher that he wants to stay and finish up with his research on The Seven, because "He's only up to 2002." It's weird because Butcher reacts as though he's trying to keep Hughie from finding out who Annie is. Which doesn't make sense. This is the exact problem with this arc. It relies on everyone being a jackass insted of just asking each other obvious questions. "Hey Hughie, couldn't help but notice that you're dating Starlight. Want to explain that before I open up your skull with a crowbar?"
    I bet Innis is trying to convince someone that Hughie actually had a chance of NOT knowing who Starlight was because Hughie wasn't reviewing current Seven video... A weak attempt in light of how famous the Seven are... It would be like replacing one of the Beatles in 1965 while they were on tour and expecting a music critic not to notice... Anyway, Butcher is still on the fence about Hughie... His paranoia says Hughie is with VA, but he doesn't want to believe it's true... Butcher is also trying to figure out how to use this new information to his advantage, and won't show his hand until he figures out how he can benefit from it...

    I agree Hughie should have had his apartment bugged (even if for his own safety... What if VA or random supes showed up in the middle of the night to take him out? How would the Boys know?) Why doesn't VA have all of the Boys under surveillance for that matter? Couldn't one simply follow Hughie from the Flatiron to his apartment one day? Shoot, if brain dead Blarney Cock can find Hughie and his hampster, ANYONE can...

    Not to mention that Hughie is an untried civilian... Mallory recruited people with military experience (I still think Frenchman has some) and a potential living weapon for the Boys. Hughie was just some guy Butcher found who had a grudge against VA. Hughie was thrown in the deep end WAY over his head. He was an unknown new element the Boys should have wanted to monitor.

    Mother's Milk clearly realizes something is up. Even though he has no reason to think this.
    MM is sharp... Sharp enough that he doesn't completely trust Butcher, smart enough that he has stayed in secret contact with Mallory (according to the Legend), and he's smart enough to notice unsusual tension in the interaction between Butcher and Hughie... MM knows Butcher well enough to notice slight changes in Butcher's tone and posture... that Hughie (who doesn’t know Butcher as well, is relationship dense, and generally not very observant) would miss. Besides, up until now Butcher has been "recruiting" Hughie and being "buddy-buddy" with him as possible, and suddenly he's nasty to him and having confrontations for no reason… hmmmmm…

    Comment


    • #3
      I do wonder why VA even tries to develop military supes.

      I mean, the Supes, just as they are, are a licence to print money. Why do they need to try to develop military-capable supes? Wouldn't it be better to research the V-injection and get the price tag down to a more reasonable level, and then sell it to the military?

      Or that could be what they ARE doing. We do suspect that VA Guy is a Supe himself, which would explain a lot. Maybe there is a lot more going on than we can see now.

      Chris

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chrisnuttall View Post
        I do wonder why VA even tries to develop military supes.

        I mean, the Supes, just as they are, are a licence to print money. Why do they need to try to develop military-capable supes? Wouldn't it be better to research the V-injection and get the price tag down to a more reasonable level, and then sell it to the military?

        Or that could be what they ARE doing. We do suspect that VA Guy is a Supe himself, which would explain a lot. Maybe there is a lot more going on than we can see now.

        Chris
        Not just the military. If they could get the price down to say, ten million a treatment, they could sell it to movie stars, oil tycoons, business executives... that would be the real Mother Load.

        And you're right- the longer the book goes on, the more likely it seems that VA Guy is a Supe himself. It would be interesting if it were revealed that one side-effect of V is that it turns you into a sociopath. It would explain a LOT, from VA Guy's decision to drop Pre-Wiz into the ocean to Butcher himself.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hot_Ch0c0 View Post
          I'm guessing the guy has Tourette Syndrome with Coprolalia (involuntary swearing and uttering obscenity).
          Garth Ennis? Heheheh. Sorry, I had to go for the cheap joke. Yes, you're probably right about Anvil Guy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chrisnuttall View Post
            I do wonder why VA even tries to develop military supes.

            I mean, the Supes, just as they are, are a licence to print money. Why do they need to try to develop military-capable supes? Wouldn't it be better to research the V-injection and get the price tag down to a more reasonable level, and then sell it to the military?

            Or that could be what they ARE doing. We do suspect that VA Guy is a Supe himself, which would explain a lot. Maybe there is a lot more going on than we can see now.

            Chris
            The military typically doesn't manufacture or make products much... They use contractors so they don't have to have multiple administrative structures or compete with the private sector who would be better funded... The idea is that the competition between multiple private contractors helps make the products "better" and more "cost effective"... A process which is thrown off track because contractors try to pay off the decision makers for the military (one way or another) to award contracts to theri company regardless of whether their company's product is the best and/or most cost effective.

            From Kamakazi: Not just the military. If they could get the price down to say, ten million a treatment, they could sell it to movie stars, oil tycoons, business executives... that would be the real Mother Load.
            Unregulated superpowers in the hands of the masses? I bet the government would crack down on that as a threat to national security. After all, in the Boys world, VA and some supes almost overthrew the Russian Government...
            But, I could see certain government(s) officials/agencies might have "private" supes - (The CIA has the Boys, who else might recruit a crew of their own for special operations?) It's probably only because of VA's connections in the US government as a military contractor for generations and the VA/government "plan" to integrate supes into the US military that the US Government allows VA to operate at all.

            ---------------

            VA Guy being a supe is interesting... Is he more powerful than Homelander?!... Or...maybe other than being a heartless bastard, his power could be negating superpowers... What would be more threatening to a "super special" person than having what made them "super special" taken away permanantly? Homelander would be completely powerless and vulnerable, one of his worst fears because he likes to think he can do anything and get away with it... Nah, if VA Guy could negate superpowers, why kill all the supes?... I guess we'll have to see on that one...

            Superpowers = Sociopath is an interesting line of thought (similar in some ways to what Homelander is thinking) If I have SUPER powers do the rules of normal society even apply to me? ANYTHING I want to do, I can do it!!

            At times, isn't that one major point of the series? If people are ultimately self-serving, great power doesn't come with great responsiblity (Sorry Ben Parker). Great power comes with great opportunity to do and get whatever you want without great consequences.

            Comment


            • #7
              Allow me to introduce myself by saying that I love this comic. It really feels like Garth Ennis gets to have a lot of fun with this title, and possibly blow off some steam about the comics industry. (Like The Pro, but on a much grander scale.) In that respect, it seems kind of meta-, but not in a moronic way like the Scream movies. Amen.

              Quite a bit has already been said about the issue, and I only really want to raise some interesting points that I have not seen mentioned, yet.

              1. Ladyfold - That name had me LMAO for a good 10 minutes. May God come into existence to bless Mr Ennis for that one.

              2. Vought Corporate Guy raises an interesting point toward the end of his conversation with Our Lady of Ethnic Ambiguity. "One we simply can't avoid. Until twenty-ten, at the very earliest." (Should I have typed that in all caps? Would that have made it more authentic, or more annoying? :P)

              What year is it in the comic? Yes, over three people years have passed since the book started, but only ONE Herogasm has occurred, and I do believe that is an annual event. Although I would have to look through back issues to verify, and that would break my wonderful rhythm right now, I do not recall any seasonal weather occurring in NYC in the comic book. The weather in their NYC is cool enough to permit wearing a black overcoat, which arguably means Autumn, but I also have not noticed any leaves changing from green to brown....

              Then again, they experienced winter weather in Russia. If the comic actually began around the summer of '06, for example, and Herogasm happened, say, in August of that year, then maybe this is pre-winter of '06. The panel of Hughie and Starlight kissing (right before Butcher's ominous lurking panel) shows a kid in a winter coat walking between his parents, and the father has a scarf over his shoulder. Just saying....

              3. Hypothesis: Compound V causes supes to periodically go loco. That could explain Dirty Mouth Anvil Bot, various other supe quirks displayed in previous issues, and Homelander's psychotic episodes. With Homelander, it appears that he forgets these moments, kind of like alcoholic blackouts. He could only come up with lame, "collateral damage" arguments about Butcher's wife when they had their talk, unless he was in politician mode that time. Considering his intended speech at Herogasm before Vought Corporate Guy entered the room, he certainly did not, "black out" when he destroyed that airplane. Hmmm....

              Oddly enough, this has me thinking of The Dark Knight Returns. Batman ultimately accuses (assesses) Superman of relying on brawn instead of brains, and I see a similar line of thought with Homelander's revolution plans. Sure, supes could kill enough humans to take over the world, but how would they run it?

              This book continues to brighten my life every month. It's about time a comic did that for me, again.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kamakazi View Post
                And you're right- the longer the book goes on, the more likely it seems that VA Guy is a Supe himself. It would be interesting if it were revealed that one side-effect of V is that it turns you into a sociopath. It would explain a LOT, from VA Guy's decision to drop Pre-Wiz into the ocean to Butcher himself.

                I don't think V-stuff has devastating collateral effects on a mind, not in the clinical sense of the word. Proof is that there are psychically sane supes, Hughie and Annie being at least two of them.

                I believe it's a subtler message, the exact opposite of the superhero "responsibility" principle. Power corrupts, and superpower corrupts supremely.

                Homelander points out the matter perfectly in his speech at Herogasm. He's fully aware he blowed up a plane full of innocent people, and it's not because he felt some incontrollable pulsion, berserk frenzy, God talking in his head or whatever. He did it because he could.

                So, and I think it's VA Guy's conclusion, too, supes go wild simply because they are, after all, children playing with nukes with no fear of consequences at all.

                If the "Super VA Guy" hypothesis is correct (and I bet everything I have it is), then his idea (and his plan) is more interesting: there is only one thing cooler than being Superman and going around doing whatever you like, and it's being the only one Superman in the world, going around doing whatever you like, and nobody knowing zip about it.
                Last edited by Boris; 03-12-2010, 03:51 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Boris, #8

                  In the end, there can be only one! LOL, but it makes sense....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Antivillain View Post
                    In the end, there can be only one! LOL, but it makes sense....

                    Lol, the Highlander VA Guy.


                    But then, it makes sense, expecially if you think of the course of action since the series began.


                    It's something even Butcher noticed. VA Guy has, as far as we know, caused more havoc and destruction among supes than the Boys in their entire career. Super Russians, gone. G-men, gone. Payback, gone. In the case of G-men it was a direct order, in the other cases it's something that makes you think. There is no way he would think a bunch of idiots like Payback could do much damage to a skilled opponent like the Boys (of course he knows very well what they are capable to do). At least, he's not a fool.

                    So, I think he's deliberately trying to wipe out Supes, and for very good reasons (they are too dangerous and expensive to manage and they proved to be totally incompetent for serious uses), of course making it seem accidental or inevitable (and his main critic, his former boss, died just when he was beginning to question his operations; what a coincidence...).
                    Now, given that I don't think a corporate devil would annihilate his very source of profit so lightly, it's probable he already has an alternate plan in his mind, something that doesn't rely on costumes and cartoon-like nonsense (maybe he's realized a well-trained, faithful, ultra-secret black ops squad at your complete disposal would be more efficient. Something like the Boys...). Or maybe he just wants them gone for good old school greed: superpower and V-stuff is best left in the hands of one man only, and nobody is more qualified than yourself.

                    Other clues are:

                    - He thinks very little of Supes ("juvenile fools", "petty scheming", "concentrate of insecurities", all coming straight from his mouth).
                    - He's not scared of supes at all, except maybe for the financial and political consequences of an eventual rogue supe causing havoc. I would be much less cool if I knew Superman hates me on a personal level.
                    - Ennis' precedent villains, Herr Starr being the case (he hijacked a worldwide conspiracy to his own personal ends, on the basis that a hyper-efficient, all-powerful organization commited to religious prophecies and apocalyptic plans is somewhat a waste...)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow, nobody pointed out that several members of SuperDooper seem to be inbred? Really?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Super Dooper inbred??

                        Now that you mention it, maybe some tainted, or decayed/decaying strains of Compound V have started circulating the supe community....

                        Or, if the members of Super Dooper all have the 'natural' mutation of Compound V, then maybe that strain itself mutates and deteriorates over time. If they had been born a decade earlier, would they have better control over their powers?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Come on, they call the one chick "Auntie Sis." No way is that a superhero name. I'm thinking Ennis is doing the same thing with SuperDuper that he did with the Messiah in Preacher. Ok, which one of these losers is going to yell "Humperdumperdoo!" or, alternatively, "SuperDuperdoo!"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hot_Ch0c0 View Post
                            Unregulated superpowers in the hands of the masses? I bet the government would crack down on that as a threat to national security.
                            They could get Tony Stark to spearhead a Registration initiative.

                            I agree though that there's really no way for Vought to make money off of Supes, which kind of begs the question "Why do they keep trying?" It's got to cost more just to clean up after Herogasm than what they make off of comics and merchandise in a year. It's hard to believe that they make much money off of Superhero Black Ops, given that most Supes are incompetent, and it's already been established that the G-Men were their #1 money-makers, and all the G-Men ever seemed to do was argue and molest children.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by blackphoenix View Post
                              Ok, which one of these losers is going to yell "SuperDuperdoo!"
                              I think I would literally die laughing. That would be the greatest moment in comic history!

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