Amazon hits a home run with its newest take on the superhero genre in The Boys, released on June 26th on the streaming platform. What is sold as a real-world take on the behind-the-scenes lives of superheroes quickly turns into a much darker, dramatic, yet comedic show. Adapted by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Eric Kripke from the comic series by writer Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the timing of the eight-episode Amazon series couldn’t be more perfect. In a world where the Avengers are worshiped both on and off-screen, The Boys shows us what superheroes do in the real-world may actually look like dealing with real problems and emotions of having and using superpowers. More importantly, the show focuses on the consequences of using those powers and how it affects others.
The show is able to balance multiple storylines, highlighting the “supers”, normal humans, and the relationship the two share. In this world, being super isn’t enough and there’s a desire for more, which plays to the underlying story and mystery of the show. In this world, collateral damage is taken seriously, but by those affected and not necessarily by the supers.
Karl Urban leads a group of humans who have been impacted by the collateral damage that the supers have caused and, as according to Karl’s character, Billy Butcher, it’s their job to, “spank them.” Billy is suffering from a significant loss that forces him to confront both the super and the company that has turned supers into a business, Vought International.
Vought International has created its own super team, known as The Seven, who are under the direction of Madelyn Stillwell (played by Elizabeth Shue). The Seven are comprised of Homelander (played by Antony Starr), Starlight (played by Erin Moriarity), Queen Maeve (played by Dominique McElligott), A-Train (played by Jessie Usher), The Deep (played by Chase Crawford), and Black Noir (played by Nathan Mitchell). We quickly learn that this isn’t the Justice League that we all grew up on.
These supers have real struggles and these struggles result with some real consequences. In a world where we know our Marvel and DC superheroes so well, The Boys does a phenomenal job at introducing these supers in a way that it makes us feel like we’ve known them and have cheered them on for years. Of course, each character mirrors some traditional superheroes that we know very well with each being easily able to find it’s DC or Marvel comparison.
The eight episodes track from the introduction of Hughie (played by Jack Quaid), an electronics shop employee who suffers significant collateral damage from one of the supers and sends him on a mission for revenge. Like all revenge stories, simply taking out revenge on the super doesn’t go as planned and finds Hughie connecting with Billy Butcher, who is on his own mission to get back at the supers. What ensues are a series of events that takes The Boys into some dark and dangerous scenarios, pitting them up against the supers. On the other side of things, we learn that being super isn’t so super after all and that how are supers arrived at who they are may not be what we believed them to be nor hoped for. There’s more to the story, as always. Vought International isn’t just in the business of marketing The Seven, there are greater goals and mysteries propelling Vought.
The Boys only shortcoming is that it’s just eight episodes! Very little gets wrapped up in this first season, which will do well to get viewers to return for Season Two. Now get out there and buy your The Seven merchandise and toys today!