For all his bravado and tendency to shock, it is important to remember that Garth Ennis can also show a much more sensitive side. Shock is not his M.O. He is a talented storyteller who will use that aspect of his style to propel the story, but as we see with issue #35 of The Boys, it is when he focuses on real human drama that some of his best work emerges.
Ostensibly a riff on the vogue for ‘origin’ stories in comics, the ‘origin’ of Mothers Milk is absorbing, sad, tragic – and with enough shock moments to remind you that you are, after all, reading an Ennis title. You learn of his childhood, his link with Vought, the exploitation of workers, the immorality of Big Business, the best boxing scene since Frank Miller was in charge of Daredevil some 25 years ago or more AND MM’s first meeting with Billy Butcher. The Boys have enough reputation now for this sort of origin story to have a real resonance and Ennis does not disappoint.
The art, with Darick Robertson back after Carlos Ezquerra filled in for the last arc, is exemplary – Robertson can portray any aspect of a City with ease, his character drawing is brilliant and his dark humour seeps through when it comes to the more shocking stuff. I say it a lot, but it is still true – The Boys has great quality control. It is never less than brilliant. They even do ‘origin’ stories that are better than 99% of all other ‘origin’ stories. Probably. There is that much goodness in the tale of Mothers Milk that it is enough to spread across 2 issues – more to come with issue #36. Eagerly anticipating…….