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The Boys #42 Full Recap and Review - The Reckoning!

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  • The Boys #42 Full Recap and Review - The Reckoning!

    It was the best of comics, it was the worst of comics... The Innocents hits its Penultimate Issue in The Boys #42!

    We start with Mother's Milk, chatting on his iPhone with who we assume is The Legend. Apple must be subsidizing The Boys these days, because everyone seems to have an iPhone in this issue. Me, I'm more of a Droid guy. Anyway, MM suckers The Legend into telling him that Butcher thinks Hughie is in the pay of Vought American. It's actually a really good scene, with none of the lazy cop-outs that Ennis has become increasingly reliant on over the past two years. Sometimes I remember why Ennis used to be my favorite writer. Later on in the issue I'll be reminded of why he's also occasionally my least favorite writer, but let's ride the wave of Awesome for a couple of more pages.

    The book shifts to Hughie, talking on his... wait for it... iPhone. Holy shit, is Steve Jobs the Executive Producer of this story arc? I keep mentioning the iPhones because my friends who have them are constantly telling me how they can track each others movements via some Stalker app or the other. If this is true, it kind of begs the question of why Hughie doesn't know that Butcher is ten feet away from him. Maybe one of you are an Apple Geek and can explain it to me.

    Anyway. Hughie begs Butcher to let him come home. Butcher says no. They hang up. ...aaaaaand Bobby Badoing bounces down the street and crushes Hughie's car.

    Let me digress for a moment here and tell you to all go see Iron Man 2, if you haven't already. Forget all the pea-brained Net-Nerd idiocy about how it "isn't as good as the first one". It's about ten times better than the first one. This has been a public service announcement.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled recap.

    Meanwhile, Ladyfold and Auntie Sis are discussing Ladyfold's powers, or lack thereof. Let me state straight up front here that there are probably all kinds of "what-passes-for-jokes-in-the-mind-of-Garth-Ennis" occurring in this sequence. Unfortunately, I'd have to take my mind to whatever pus-caked sewer drain that passes for Ennis's soul to understand them, and that's just not something I want to do at this point in my life. Fortunately, none of it's important to the storyline.

    Our Hero Mal wanders in, and accuses Auntie Sis of ratting him out to Vought American for his... well, frankly, I have no idea what she reported him for. Up until this issue, although we've been assured repeatedly by Ennis that Our Hero Mal is a prick, we've never actually seen him do anything worse than laugh when Klunker shouts obscenities.

    Now, here's where Ennis decides it's time to stop all of this "good writing" nonsense that's permeated the last two issues, and flip back to AutoPilot. And it's sad because there's really no reason for it, other than Ennis tends to be lazy. What happens is this: Our Hero Mal informs Auntie Sis that he wants to go back to Team Titanic, and her bitching about him is ruining his chances. She tells him to stop insulting the kids then, and everything will be fine. Now, here we have a classic "What the hell is Garth Ennis smoking?" moment: Our Hero Mal is faced with two choices: take the path of least resistance, ignore Super Duper, and eventually get sent back to the Majors, or pointlessly be a Dick for absolutely no reason, and ruin his own chances of ever getting the only thing we know he wants in life.

    Guess which choice Garth has him make. Here's the thing: GOOD writing makes you forget that you're reading a story, and just absorbs you into the page. BAD writing constantly alerts you to the fact that you're reading a bunch of plot contrivances. When Ennis chooses to be a good writer, he's amazing. When he chooses to be BAD, he's the Glenn Beck of Comics: a capering buffoon who panders to an audience that he himself assumes are nothing but gibbering retards. Read any given issue of "Crossed" if you're not sure what I'm talking about.

    Anyway. Back to the book. At this point, Our Hero Mal decides to prove Boris's theory that he's nothing but Homelander in facepaint, and gives the "I can do anything I want, I'm a Super Hero" speech that we've heard Homelander give about ten thousand times. He then walks away, and for absolutely no reason starts insulting Hughie, who is having breakfast with the rest of Super Duper. I say "no reason", but there actually IS a reason: the plot requires that Hughie and Mal have a throw-down at some point, and Ennis can't be arsed to figure out a better reason other than "Mal randomly insults Hughie."

    Cut to Annie. She's writing an eMail to tell Hughie allllll about herself. Which she doesn't send. Here's the funny thing about Garth Ennis: 99% of the time, he writes as though he (and his characters) are the most depraved scumbag assholes the world have ever known, and then the OTHER 1% of the time he's acting like we're all still living in the 1950's, and finding out that your girlfriend had sex before she met you might be the most traumatic event in a person's life. Personally, back when I was dating, I never asked (or particularly cared) who my girlfriends had sex with before they met me, and I frankly would have found it rather odd if they had insisted on telling me. Or to put it another way: I love sausage, but I absolutely do not want to know how it's made. Wait. That's probably a bad metaphor.

    Back with Super Duper, Our Hero Mal has impersonated Bobby Badoing, and is getting Auntie Sis to tell him her worst fear. Good thing this is a comic book and she won't notice the REAL Bobby when she walks outside to get her hamburger. Auntie Sis tells him she's claustrophobic. This occurs because the plot requires Our Hero Mal to do something stupid and against his own best interests.

    Suddenly it occurs to me that we've never seen Auntie Sis's powers.

    Later, Hughie uses his iPhone to call Butcher, who oddly enough, also has an iPhone. Hughie wants to come home. Butcher says "No". After they hang up, Butcher walks around and provides Plot Exposition to us for a while. He explains that the plot now calls for Hughie to fight Our Hero Mal. I'm not really sure that I'm following the logic here- something about "If Hughie fights Mal, then it proves... uh, something or the other".

    We end with Mother's Milk, standing outside of Vought American. He decides to head inside and confront them directly. Kinda makes you wonder why The Boys didn't just do this in Issue #1, given that Vought is the REAL problem.

    I give the book 7 out of 10. I took off one point for every time Our Hero Mal did something moronic and illogical for no reason other than to serve the plot. Because I am FOUNDER and PRESIDENT of the Malchemical Fanclub, baby!

  • #2
    I think Butcher's logic is as follows.

    If Hughie is working for VA, Mal won't dare to hurt him, as he's certainly a very important asset for them.

    If Hughie is innocent, Mal won't hesitate to beat up on our Scottish Laddie and that will prove...well, something.

    Though we know that Butcher is smart, I think his mind and paranoia has run away with him here. There are just too many weak links in the chain. In order for Hughie to be a spy...

    VA would have had to kill his girlfriend deliberately. A-Train isn't that good - and Butcher's survalence of the Seven would have revealed the truth.

    VA would have had to gamble on Butcher picking up on Hughie. What made Butcher decide to turn to Hughie, an untrained person with nothing, but a strong reason to turn on supes?

    VA would have had to lose the Blarney Cock. This is actually quite reasonable, as the BC was a definate wanker and they might be pleased to be rid of him. Of course, they would have to resurrect him afterwards at vast expense...

    VA would have had to lose Swingwing, as it was Hughie who twigged to him as the murderer, or have him turned into an intel source for Butcher. It was Butcher who killed him, maybe on purpose, not Hughie.

    VA would have to lose their Russian stunt, as it was Hughie who prevented it from going ahead.

    VA would have to lose the Blarney Cock (again.)

    VA would have to lose the G-Men (or at least risk their secret becoming known to outsiders.)

    VA would have to accept Butcher discovering just what went down on 9/11.

    VA would have to risk losing Payback (and they did.)

    It hardly seems worth it, somehow.



    • #3
      You are entirely correct, Chris. Plus, we have no real reason to assume that Vought even cared about The Boys at the point that Hughie joined the team. Vought may even have seen The Boys as an asset, since they routinely kill or blackmail any Supe that's becoming uncontrollable. Odds are that if the Legend didn't harbor such a smoldering hatred of VA, Vought might have sponsored The Boys themselves to help keep their product in line. (Until they found out that Butcher's only goal is to kill Homelander, that is, but even THEN they might have seen it as a failsafe for keeping Homelander in line.


      • #4
        Fast thoughts (I'm in a rush):

        - I can reasonably suppose MM's talking with Mallory.

        - Malchemical, like all supes, is a bully (at very least), therefore he acts like a bully, not as a sane and rational individual. No shocks and plot holes here.

        - Annie didn't "have sex with other guys" before Hughie, she actually starred in a Deepthroat remake with half of the Seven. That's something that could shrink my respect for a girlfriend, if only a little bit. But then, maybe it's my (as well as Ennis') former Catholic education. And she's actually thinking she lives in the Fifties.

        - Butcher is out of his mind. His logic is even dumber than Homelander's delusions of grandeur. I'm hoping it's deliberate.

        Oh, there's one last thing for which I need your help: MM is drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey when he stands before VA headquarters. Given that the particular is a smart way to suggest he's stinking drunk, here in my place Wild Turkey is considered a cheap brand of bourbon, the classical hobo drink.
        Considering MM's snobbish and sophisticated tastes, it's enough to alarm me.

        Are we aristocratic, Scotch-addicted Europeans missing something here?


        • #5
          Dammit Boris, I DEMAND that you find the time to respond with a longer post!

          I would love to believe that Ennis intends for Butcher to be insane, the way his Punisher was obviously crazy. That would explain SO much of what's gone on in the book.

          We've all talked about the weird handling of Annie before, so I won't go over it again except to say that it still makes no sense that the virginal Girl Next Door gave Oral Pleasure to three guys just to get a job... unless, of course, she actually IS a giant Ho-Bag, in which case the sooner Hughie finds out, the better, and I personally won't feel sorry for her.

          What we really need is what Ennis already promised us: a short-run "Butcher" comic that gives us his back-story. If we could actually see him going nuts, it'd help explain his motivations.

          As for your VICIOUS, UNFOUNDED, and IGNORANT attack on my boy MalChemical:

          The MalChemical Fan Club DEMANDS an APOLOGY!
          Last edited by Kamakazi; 05-18-2010, 02:38 PM.


          • #6
            Well, blowing 3 guys isn't part of a normal job interview, is it?



            • #7
              Originally posted by Chrisnuttall View Post
              Well, blowing 3 guys isn't part of a normal job interview, is it?
              If it isn't, my boss has a LOT of explaining to do...


              • #8
                Aaaaw, Kamakazi, as a proud member of the Section Eight fan club, chapter Italy, and as vicepresident of the International League of Arseface Impersonators, I feel deep shame and guilt for my previous blasphemy against our most sacred Malchemical, a man that could throw nukes for farts if only Garth would give it a thought, and I pray for a future amalgam between him and Trio from the Dicks bible (just imagine the possibilities for merchandise).

                In the meantime, let's go on with everyday business.

                So long with Annie, we will return on her when (and if) Hughie will discover her dirty little secret.

                Back to Butcher. I don't know, his plan involving Hughie, Mal and a brawl, just doesn't make sense. Everybody with a brain has already pointed out that Hughie can't possibly be a mole, yet he "has to be sure".
                He reminds me of those girlfriends that unleash the most cruel "trials" on you, just to see how much you love them.

                I, too, am convinced that our Billy is more of an all-out psycho than an antihero, perhaps Ennis conceives him as a Punisher without even those tiny ethic restraints that still make him human, and we're about to discover it.

                And now, what about the Wild Turkey issue? Are we losing MM, too?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Boris View Post
                  And now, what about the Wild Turkey issue? Are we losing MM, too?
                  I'm betting it's just what he carries his spare milk around in. Much tougher looking than a baby's bottle.