Since its inception, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's Dynamite Entertainment published series "The Boys" has been known for -Â if nothing else -Â pulling no punches when it comes to violence, sexual perversion and downright unnecessary uses of superpowers for any kind of depraved crime imaginable. So with a new story arc set to hit in 2010 under the name "The Innocents," it's hard to see who in the history of the series doesn't have a little blood on their hands...if not something else.
"The title refers to the superheroes from the team [called] Superduper, a group of teen heroes from the far future," Ennis told CBR of "The Innocents" which begins in February's stand alone issue #39 and gets started in earnest in #40. "They're unique in the world of the Boys in that they actually are heroes -Â they believe in truth and justice, they fight to make the world a better place and ask nothing in return. They are, in short, a million miles from the scumbag supes we've seen up 'til now."
Of course, as this is "The Boys," the question must be asked as to how long any good person can stay that way in the world of "heroes" like Homelander and the Seven. Things are further complicated for the Superduper introduction into this world as they interact with series lead Wee Hughie -Â still much averse to violence after the recent events of "The Self-Preservation Society" arc and the "Herogasm" miniseries.
"Hughie is assigned to surveil Superduper by Butcher, who has his own agenda regarding Hughie here. Hughie is initially reluctant, expecting exactly the kind of crazy supe activity you mention. What he finds is something altogether different. What happens during this story sets Hughie off on a strange path of his own, which will eventually lead into his own miniseries next summer."
Longtime readers will no doubt be excited at the prospect of more spotlight time for Hughie,. However, before a mini comes along, the character will get a brief romantic reprieve in issue #39 when the story stops to examine the state of the character's relationship with Seven member Annie AKA Starlight. "Hughie and Annie's relationship is, to me, the heart of the book, and it'll continue to play a major role from now until the end of the series," Ennis explained. "I'm very fond of them and love writing their scenes together, but I have to say they're in for some extremely rocky times."
In the meantime, "The Innocents" will also dip into the lives of Boys team members Frenchie and the Female, though the angle Ennis takes for the two characters will be decidedly different from Hughie and Annie's story. "I've never really thought of there being a parallel there; Frenchie and the Female are generally off in their own fucked-up little universe. Which is not to say I'm not fond of them, too," Ennis said.
All the while, the larger "Boys" story arc will continue to wind along in the background, including the team's ongoing battle with the corporate overlords of the worst heroes in the book. "Vought -Â specifically the man from Vought-American -Â take a bit of a back seat in this story. We do see him in the prologue and part one, letting his new protege Jess Bradley in on some nasty little secrets, but after that, the company becomes more of a background presence. They're referred to, and we learn that they've played a role in the appointment of Superduper's new leader Malchemical, but beyond that they're a force that influences the action rather than plays a part."
Robertson returns full time to art duties for this arc after spending some time drawing his commitments to DC and Wildstorm, and Ennis couldn't be happier to get the band back together. "[It's] always good to see Darick back. He's the book's co-creator, so the more of it he can draw, the better."