There’s a particular type of story that keeps popping up in The Boys, and this week’s issue is no exception. Writer Garth Ennis will take an absolutely absurd, bizarre premise that sounds like it is totally played for laughs (and at first, it invariably IS played for laughs) but then commit to that premise so much that you begin see the humanity BEHIND the ridiculous premise.
That’s what happens in The Boys #35, where we get the first part of a two-part look into the origin of Mother’s Milk, one of the Boys (Ennis has kept the past of the other members of the Boys pretty well hid over the first few years of the title), and, well, let’s just say that his name plays directly into his origin, but Ennis handles it in a strong fashion (and returning artist Darick Robertson ably assists) that it is still a strong issue that continues the development of the world of The Boys.
This is how confident Ennis and Robertson are that folks will dig the issue – they give away the “hook” of the issue more or less on the cover, but then go even further and make it available in the preview pages!!
So yeah, Mother’s Milk needs his mother’s breast milk to survive – and as you can see, it’s played for laughs at first, but over the progression of Mother’s story, we get to see that this is basically an exploration of just how messed up Vought American (the company that is the main villain of The Boys, the company that is behind almost all the super powered people in the world) is, and just how hard the world can be, especially on a man like Mother’s Milk’s father, who dedicates his life to making Vought American pay for what they did to his children.
Throughout the story, you see the usual Ennis routines, but ALSO as usual, you see how effective they all are. When you grow attached to characters, seeing bad things happen to them feels pretty bad (Robertson, by the way, absolutely nails a horrific transformation scene).
Meanwhile, darkly comedic moments ALSO come seemingly out of nowhere (although Ennis is good with not making these sudden events seem totally random – he neatly steers the story the right direction so there’s always a foundation before the reveals).
There’s a court room sequence where Ennis deftly summarizes the state of the world of The Boys into one sentence, spoken by a team of lawyers who technically had just lost. It squarely hits home the reason why The Boys exists – because there is a group of people who feel as thought they control the world, and in many ways, they DO, so it is important to have a group of people they do NOT control – and that is where The Boys come in. It’s always nice when Ennis shows the purpose of these characters beyond “beating up superheroes.”
While Robertson does a nice job on the artwork, I’m honestly a bit surprised he came back for this two-parter. This one seems well suited for a fill-in artist, but I suppose since he created these characters with Ennis, he wanted to be there for their origins.
Anyhow, this was a solidly told story with nice artwork.
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