The Boys #38


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The Boys #38


  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Darick Robertson
  • Colors: Tony Avina
  • Story Title: The Instant White-Hot Wild
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 6, 2010

For 37 issues of Garth Ennis’ limited series, one main character has never spoken a word. Has never been given a real name and has sat in the corner, only showing glimpses of her ability to inflict extreme violence. Issue #38 explores her beginnings, the secret origin of The Female.

Told in first person, but through another character, Ennis subtly answers questions about her character, but also raises more questions that propel the overarching plot of the whole series. This is a stand alone issue, but is firmly steeped in the title’s mythology. Someone jumping in at this point may have many questions about its plot developments and how the characters fit together.

The Boys is an elite group, working outside the government or any other corrupting entity, charged with the never-ending task of keeping superheroes in check. If with absolute power comes absolute corruption, then the consequences of crossing that line is The Boys. This group of five, The Butcher, Mother’s Milk, Wee Hughie, The Frenchman, and The Female, are a force of nature sent out to keep checks and balances on corporate and government manufactured  “heroes” by any means necessary.

Up until now, The Female has only entered the fray when absolutely necessary, but mostly between the panels shown. She’s a wild card and highly feared, but the reader has never been told why or how. As told by The Frenchman, her volunteered caretaker, we are given the history of a Japanese family plagued with tragedy.  She recalls members of her lineage dating back to WWII and how they seem to be unable to escape accident and death. As a small baby with a neglectful mother, we see this potential monster born. A tragic turn of events becomes worse as she is poked, prodded, tested on, and raised as an animal.

She escapes and is eventually captured a handful of times, seeing how the world lives, but always feeling outside of it. The last particular time she slips the guards is where this issue really shines. It’s paced like a wonderful action horror movie from decades ago, as also alluded to by the cover. The issue’s climax has definite nods to James Cameron’s Aliens, down to the smack talking guns for hire being picked off in cold sewer tunnels. It’s a fun and brutal sequence culminating in The Female’s introduction to The Boys.

Having been sucked into the hype over three years ago, I was picking up this title on a monthly basis, but dropped it last year due to what felt like treading water, story-wise. There was little to no urgency reading the next issue and it was purchased almost compulsorily. Early arcs reeked of shock for shock value’s sake and seemed to get farther and farther from the main story. There are only so many times we can see so called heroes engaging in explicit and disgusting acts before we get the point.

This issue, however, for the first time in a long time, feels as though Ennis is moving his story forward. He is taking the time to flesh out these characters and setting the stage for the next half of the series. With Darick Robertson’s gritty caricatures in tow, The Boys finally feels like it’s taking a step into the next act. The chess board Ennis and company have set is filled with intriguing potential and one only hopes it pays off in the long run.

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