‘The Boys’ is, in all probability, the most successful series on Prime Video and, of course, the one that has caused the most talk in all the years that the Amazon service has been running. Ruthless, original, acid, different, scathing, violent, disturbing, brave… There are many adjectives that come to mind when you dive into this fiction, based on the comics that Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, writer and cartoonist, published between 2006 and 2012. ‘The Boys’ imagines a universe in which superheroes, characters with a huge ego and deified, not only do not always do good but are dedicated to leading a good life and swell their current accounts thanks to advertising and merchandising revenues generate around them.
All of them are managed by a mega-corporation called Vought, something like an influencers agency, a company that among its ranks not only has a team dedicated to looking for crimes to fight, but also takes care of running their social networks, of generating interest in the audience and creating all kinds of products -events close to the religious, reality shows and even movies, in a direct pullita to the Marvel universe-, in addition to, be careful, selling the services of these titans to different cities in the United States. Marketing the work of superheroes, something that has often been described as altruistic, is groundbreaking enough for the viewer to raise at least one eyebrow and pay attention to what happens on screen, but on top of that, superheroes they function as a brand and are treated as ‘celebrities’, signing autographs and letting themselves be taken selfies… Vought has more than 200 scattered throughout the United States, but they are the ones that make up the group of The Seven -something like the League of Justice-, the most important of the company.
At the beginning of the fiction they belong to this group Black Noir, an agile murderer who does not utter a word; Deep (Chace Crawford), a cocky man capable of breathing underwater and communicating with marine life; Translucent, a pervert who makes himself invisible; Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), an Amazon with enormous strength; A-train (Jessie T. Usher), the fastest man on Earth; Starlight (Erin Moriarty), a naive young woman from Ohio, who has just passed the casting -she has been appearing in competitions for children’s superheroines since she was little, mind you-, and Patriota (Anthony Starr), a kind of Superman -she has an exaggerated strength, he can fly and fires lightning bolts from his eyes -, even more tacky than the DC Comics character, as he wears a cape with the stars and stripes of the American flag.
This being the case, where is the conflict? The fiction, and beware that the spoilers start here, revolves around a team of people who want to unmask this group. Hughie (Jack Quaid), the nerdy clerk at a consumer electronics store, enters at the beginning of the first season, when his girlfriend is literally blown up by a highly altered A-train, even though Vought promised him $45,000. if you signed a confidentiality agreement. There he begins to understand that the superheroes, who seem to do so much for the citizens, do not conform to the same rules of the game and that they can do and undo as they please. At that point Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) appears on the scene, a former CIA agent, who hates superheroes, to whom he blames the disappearance of his wife. This will propose to take revenge with his group of colleagues. Little by little, not only Hughie but also Starlight will discover that behind those professional smiles, the ridiculous suits and costumes, the visits to the adolescent with cancer in the hospital, the compadre with the citizens – «You are the heroes really”, Patriota always repeats like a mantra, faithful to the script that has been written for him- and from the apparent good will, deeply deified, selfish, ruthless and unscrupulous beings hide. Patriota and his men have no consideration, they act as judges and executioners, murder in cold blood and even falsify evidence. Fascism of the good, and without supervillains.
But there is also a criticism of the way many large companies operate -remember that ‘The Boys’ is only available on Prime Video- and their development plans at all costs, an expansion where ethics and morals do not seem to have their place. Let’s go for a detailed summary of the first two seasons. Watch out, spoilers are coming.
An electrifying first season
It is in the first season, Madelyn Stillwell, who is brought to life by a spectacular and disturbing Elisabeth Shue, who embodies that exacerbated capitalism that the series places in a prominent place. Madelyn is trying to get the Government to give her an exaggerated amount of money so that the Army can use superheroes however she sees fit. At the same time, she impacts the unhealthy relationship that she maintains with Patriota: she is a sort of mother and sexual partner.
An image from the beginning of the series.
Starlight’s arrival on the Seven team doesn’t get off to a good start when the Deep asks for sexual favors. This, coupled with the fact that the superhero presents evidence of a crime committed by Patriot, causes him to end up relegated from the group and sent to Ohio. Meanwhile, Hughie and Starlight start a relationship that ends with her joining the group led by Butcher, who doesn’t trust the superhero at all. Together, they manage to kidnap Translucent whom they try to convince to tell what is happening within the corporation, but things do not go well and they make him explode, pursued by Patriot, who, unable to manage his emotions, is getting more and more angry. The group, meanwhile, discovers that the problem with A-Tren is that he is addicted to a substance called Compound V. It will then be revealed that the substance has been developed by Vought and that, contrary to what was thought, superheroes they are not born but are made, by injecting the compound into babies. Come on, the corporation’s actions have been anything but ethical. It makes sense because superheroes are still a reflection of the company: Patriot and Queen Maeve even let a plane full of passengers, in the middle of a terrorist attack, crash so that public opinion would decide in favor of the need for have superheroes. Little joke.
Queen Maeve, A-train and Starlight, in the first season.
Patriota’s misdeeds do not end there, as he confesses to Madelyn that he has injected the compound into some jihadists to make their work even more necessary. He then discovers that Madelyn kept the whereabouts of her child and the woman who procreated it a secret. Her story pisses him off so much that he wraps her in explosives. The final fight between Butcher and Patriot is soon over, when Patriot blows up the house with Madelyn inside. Butcher wakes up thousands of miles away, to a smiling Patriot, a child, and a woman who turns out to be his wife, whom he thought was dead.
A weaker second season
The second season begins with Butcher’s entourage being pursued by the law, since he considers himself to be the culprit in Madelyn’s death; meanwhile The Seven finish off the terrorists that they themselves had created. Despite the fact that from the outside they continue to do their job, the group of superheroes is deeply touched by the death of Translucido, the cardiac arrest suffered by A-tren and the dismissal of Profundo, for whom they are looking for a replacement. Patriota wants to lead that casting, but it is the president of Vought, Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), who ends up putting Stormfront (Aya Cash), a heroine with electrical powers, with the soul of an influencer and a lot of arrogance, who begins falling very badly in the group. Butcher will become obsessed with finding his wife, but also with maintaining leadership in an entourage that he increasingly views Hughie’s ideas with better eyes, who tries to bring down the company from within with the help of Starlight.
Stormfront and Patriot declare their love.
Starlight blackmails a Vought worker who finally gets him evidence on Compound V. When he has it, he sends it to the TV networks and manages to blow the whistle on the artificial nature of superheroes, shocking many of them. in a negative way. Not in Patriota, that he is spending quality time with his son, whom he takes to the extreme to try to bring out his powers. For her part, Stormfront takes the initiative to take down an immigrant superhero who is related to the group led by Butcher. He kills him, but along the way with hundreds of civilians. Despite that, they manage to sell the idea that Stormfront has saved the citizens. Patriot, increasingly jealous, fires A-train, is about to finish Starlight and then Stormfront, but they finally start a relationship.
In turn, the group of rebels is now divided. Hughie and Starlight discover that a mysterious missing hero named Liberty is actually Stormfront. It doesn’t seem like the years go by for her. Butcher instead tries to rescue Becca, but Becca doesn’t want to abandon her child. Also, the team enters a building where they experiment with the powers of the superheroes and in a scuffle, they end up freeing them all. The CIA has Vought cornered, but when he goes to start the trial against the megacorporation, the heads of those present begin to burst. With the hope of legal action over, the group meets again to act against Patriota, who has already taken her son and his family. A-tren, who had been fired, shows up with documents showing that Vought developed the compound in Nazi Germany and that Stormfront was his first customer. Images of her with Hitler turn public opinion against the superhero, while the renegades hatch a plan to rescue Becca’s son. Starlight and Queen Maeve, who had been attacked by Patriot for being a lesbian, placate Stormfront’s anger and get the little boy to go to his mother, but Stormfront gets in their way again and the little boy burns her with his powers, but also his mother, whom he kills by accident. Butcher leaves with the boy and Patriot is unwilling to let them escape, but Queen Maeve tells him that if she doesn’t leave them alone she will release the video of them letting a plane full of passengers crash. So everyone goes their own way. What happens in the third season is still a mystery that will be solved on Friday.
The third season of ‘The Boys’ begins June 3 on Prime Video.