May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Gen V “God U.”

Season One, Episode One

So, I figured I should probably check in on The Boys‘s spin-off series before the next season of the original show starts.  I initially wasn’t 100% sure this is really going to be my thing since it could be more of a college-centered YA sort of series set in the world of The Boys, but it might also be a good show in its own right.

I just really hope it doesn’t take too much from the source material.

As it is, so far it hasn’t taken too much from the source material.  The comic book version of The Boys depicts a world where most of the superheroes are thinly disguised versions of various DC and Marvel heroes.  The Seven is basically the Justice League.  Payback is the Avengers.  And then there’s the G-Men who are, well, obviously the X-Men and the various associated characters, all under the seemingly benevolent leadership of Thomas Godolkin.  Now, as for the comics, I did tend to enjoy how the characters that, shall we say, inspired the superheroes of The Boys were redesigned, and since the G-Men were basically there for one storyline, many of them didn’t get much in the way of names, but I was still generally able to tell who was inspired by whom just by looking at them.  To briefly summarize what happened:  a Jean Grey clone killed herself in public, prompting Billy Butcher to send Wee Hughie undercover in the G-Men to look into why she might have done so.  What Hughie found were a lot of horrible human beings (like most superheroes) who were more into backbiting and the like as opposed to even liking each other.  The G-Men, as described, were not really on  Butcher’s radar because they did their own thing off to the side, and while they were the stars of the best-selling comics in Vought Publishing’s line-up, they also were largely ignored by Vought.

Then it turned out there was something really dark at the center of it all, and just as the Boys were about to throw down with something like one hundred supes (something that was a bit too much for even the Boys who routinely manhandled any and all superheroes they came into conflict with), Vought swooped in with some helicopter gunships and took out all the G-Men themselves because what Butcher and the others found was that bad.

What was it?  Eh, I’ll refrain from saying for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it might be the reveal at the end of the season.  I don’t know yet.  I’ve only watched one episode.

The episode in question isn’t bad either, but it lacks the sort of visceral insanity of the parent series.  That could be due to any number of factors, but I won’t really speculate.  My best guess is that it’s because it’s either from different creative people behind the scenes (even if it has the same executive producers) or it has a different focus that makes things a bit different.  The Boys TV series often acts as a social and political satire, but something about Gen V, even if it seems to share the same basic politics, is a bit less subtle about it.  And I don’t just mean because it’s set on a college campus.  It just seems to be telegraphing that political perspective a bit more bluntly, and The Boys isn’t all that subtle a show to begin with.

That may be a result of who the show’s perspective is coming from.  The Boys is about ordinary people trying to rein in the uncontrollable superhumans that most of society adores.  Gen V is about young superhumans looking to make a name for themselves.  Main character Marie Moreau (see, double initials like many a Marvel hero!) gained her powers during puberty.  She has the power to control blood, able to use hers like a weapon without apparently suffering from the effects of blood loss, and even able to, say, stop others from bleeding out it turns out.  But her powers manifested during her first period, and her lack of control managed to kill both of her parents and send her to an orphanage for superhumans (her kid sister?  another story apparently), and Godolkin U is both her dream and her only real way out of a system that won’t treat her well once she reaches adulthood.

Meanwhile, her YouTube star roommate Emma can shrink herself, but only through binging and purging, and the interests of the guy she meets clearly doesn’t do anything for her.  It feels like a joke from The Boys, only that series told a story of a shrinking man’s bedroom habits in a more graphic (and, quite frankly, funnier manner) than what’s on display here.

All this is not to say Gen V is bad or anything.  When the school’s #1 student Golden Boy suddenly goes nuts, kills a prominent professor, and then explodes himself high over the campus for unknown reasons, that the start of a good mystery.  The Jordan Li character has some really unique powers:  they can flip genders but gain different powers based on whether they’re male or female.  And the show did have the guts to kill off the most recognizable actor and the one with the most famous last name when Golden Boy did what he did.  It’s just that, compared to The BoysGen V feels a bit tame after one episode.  Granted, there are another seven to go, and I probably will try to judge the series on its own merits and not those of the parent series.

But I really hope it doesn’t just do what the comics did.  So far, the world of The Boys has managed to do that in a way that actually expands the scope of the satire and makes for a more interesting story.  I suspect Gen V can do the same, but I’ll have to watch the rest of this first season to find out.