The Boys brings a fresh, gritty view on super heroes

River Lehnhardt

The Boys has become one of the most viewed and respected shows recently. The popularity came out of nowhere but it’s not without a reason, as it’s entertaining and different from what we are used to in terms of superhero media

This isn’t an ordinary super hero show. It’s very gritty and definitely not for your typical superhero fan. The opening scene is a good example, where our protagonist’s girlfriend gets killed by a superhero with super speed, A-Train, when he accidentally runs into her. This is a prime example that this is not your normal happy superhero show or movie.

Continuing the topic of breaking the cliches, the superman equivalent in this show is a crazed lunatic, named Homelander. He seems like a righteous hero who will protect everyone, until he blows up a plane using his laser eyes and blames terrorists for the event.

Characters who would be considered villains in other superhero media are now in a grey area, who want to shut down Vought no matter the price. After our protagonist, Hughie, loses his girlfriend to A-Train, his life begins to fall apart and wants to sue him, although his dad tries to talk him out of it. Hughie ends up working at an electronic department store. One day a man nicknamed Butch comes to offer him a deal to get back at the corporation and heroes who ruined his life. Hughie is initially reluctant but accepts and gets roped into the rabbithole of Vought’s misdeeds

The characters are one of the best parts of this show. We’ve gone over Hughie and Homelander but there are plenty more to discuss. Butcher is the one who put this whole team together to combat superheroes after Homelander killed his wife. He’s a coarse guy, but also a smart ass. Not much is given about Frenchie. All we know is he’s a black market dealer who illegally sells weapons, drugs, passports, and just about everything you can think of. Mother’s Milk, also known as M.M, is a father who helped Butch in the past, but rejoins them after being roped back in by Butch. M.M has his own reasons for hating supes. Kimiko is a mysterious woman who joins the boys after being given the super serum by Vought when their intent was to create supervillains.

Vought is the company that makes superheroes. Vought does so much in terms of branding but also keeps a happy ‘save-the-day’ facade. Vought sells all sorts of merchandise like lunchboxes, playsets, movies, even things like cigarettes, soda, and much more. They make superheroes using a super soldier serum called Compound V. Heroes are given the drug as a baby and are able to use their powers when they get older.

The show has heavy political undertones.he corporation Vought acts more like a company than a superhero organization. The show enjoys paroding recent events. The superhero Starlight begins to hate Vought because she despises the people and wants to save innocents, but has only been treated terribly and quits. Vought frames her as a sex trafficker which parallels the conspiracy theories that were happening at the time like Pizzagate. At another point in the story Vought gives super serum to terrorists to create what they tried to call supervillains, but were called superterrorists instead. Media propaganda causes a man to doubt if a gas station owner is a supervillain or not. This is a reference to the real-world propaganda that was used when Trump was president, where he popularized the idea that every immigrant was a supposed terrorist.

The Boys is an excellent commentary on modern day super hero media and society. It’s a fresh, but gritty, view on super heroes.