‘The Boys’: The Dark, Disturbing Reason Marvin T. Milk Is Called Mother’s Milk
The Amazon original series The Boys is based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis. While the show pays homage to the source material, it takes some liberties concerning the text-to-screen depiction.
Because the comic book is so dark, so disturbing, and often too unsettling for TV, the show cannot merely transfer the text. Yet, the series comes pretty close to the comics and stays true to the heart and soul of Ennis’ work. The character dynamics and the narratives are just as unpredictable, complex, and disturbing.
In the show, Marvin T. Milk (portrayed by Laz Alonso) goes by the nickname Mother’s Milk. While there is a strong reason for this in the comics, the show doesn’t stick to the source material when it comes to Marvin’s origin story.
The comic book story behind Marvin T. Milk’s nickname, ‘Mother’s Milk’
In the comics, Marvin T. Milk is a supe; he was born with Compound V in his body. Because his mother was contaminated while working at a Vought Factory, Marvin is born with Compound V running through his bloodstream. Yet, as a result, Marvin needs his mother’s breastmilk to survive — even into adulthood.
Laz Alonso explained the inspiration for the character, as CBR notes, stating:
Garth [Ennis] had taken this character and molded him after — in theory — after the crack babies, of the ’80s, where he was physically infected with an addiction to V.CBR
The writers behind The Boys chose to go in a different direction with the character, removing the true origin story in favor of something a little lighter (despite the show’s overwhelmingly dark tone).
Laz Alonso explains how creator Eric Kripke altered Mother’s Milk in Amazon’s ‘The Boys’
While The Boys is quite dark, there are enough twisted plotlines and uncomfortable moments in the show, and portraying a grown man depending on his mother’s breastmilk to survive may have been one step too far. Instead, Mother’s Milk is infected with an inspiring need for justice. Alonso explained:
That’s not the case, so what is he infected with? [Showrunner Eric Kripke] kind of beautifully created this infection with being a fighter of freedom… That’s what he’s infected with, is risking what he has in the pursuit of justice.CBR
Turning Mother’s Milk into a good guy infected with Compound V may have also further complicated a story that’s already quite complex and intriguing. It may have been easier to remove this backstory, keeping Mother’s Milk completely human as he helps fight against the superheroes.