Last year, Amazon’s adaption of “The Boys” began streaming to both critical and commercial success. I had long since been a fan of the original comics and was blown away by how much the show got right. With its masterful commentary, complex characters and delightfully cynical world, the TV show, much like the original comics, instantly became one of my favorites.
It was just a breath of fresh air to see something delight itself in making fun of everything wrong with superheroes and their media properties. While the comics may be long gone, season two reinforces what season one already established—the fact that the same energy and passion of the comics lives on here.
When season one came out, I was astonished by the show’s devotion to the source material. With its anti-MCU approach to superheroes and commitment to tackling difficult subject matter, season one did a fantastic job staying true to the comics while putting its own updated spin on the story. Season two continues this trend beautifully, resuming the story of Billy Butcher and his companions as they wage their secret war against supes (the show’s slang for superheroes) and Vought, the corporation that manages them.
Picking up immediately after the events of season one, “The Boys” season two sees the team on the run from Vought after Butcher’s failed attempt to assassinate Homelander, leader of the world’s most popular super team, The Seven. Battered and broken, The Boys constantly struggle with inner turmoil, personal demons and less than ideal mental states while being hunted by a plethora of deadly new supes.
On the flip side, The Seven face their own conflicts as new members and management of the group only bring out the worst in these so-called heroes. With the world on the verge of superpowered conflicts, rest is a luxury that neither side can afford.
In terms of comic accuracy, we continue to get a nice mix of familiar and new in terms of the direction of each character’s arc. While some arcs may appear to do a complete 180 at first, they eventually circle back to where comic fans would assume they would go. In the end, the show effectively uses a new coat of paint to put a fresh spin on a still familiar arc.
By far, the best improvement made to an already phenomenal first season is the character development. Before, there were a few characters who, while not forgettable, were clearly glossed over. This time though, every character gets their time to shine.
Butcher (Karl Urban) and Homelander (Anthony Starr) continue to steal the show as they lead their groups down paths not everyone wants to follow. Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) grow closer as they struggle to come to grips with the reality they face. Even jerks like A-Train (Jessie Usher) and The Deep (Chance Crawford) get some surprisingly good moments, reminding us that despite their reputation as corrupt supes, they are still human.
Season two pulls no punches as it masterfully tackles topics that people often try to sweep under the rug. From shallow representation in superhero teams to the dangers of social media campaigns, the show continues to be topical, but never in an annoying way. In essence, the show is just devoted to entertaining the audience while playfully making fun of whatever is wrong with the world at the moment.
Finally, I would say this sets a new standard for how to adapt comic book properties. Other recent series have felt relatively cheap and often had to tone down or outright omit certain aspects for the sake of budget and medium.“The Boys” remains faithful while trying to find a welcome alternative to adapting some of the source’s more challenging aspects. The show’s creators clearly care about both the casual audience and the comic book crowd, so the series tries to and succeeds in pleasing both.
Overall, whether you are a comic fan or just a fan of the show, season two of “The Boys” is for you. It does a phenomenal job on all fronts and serves as a welcome and thoughtful alternative to the typical superhero formula. With season three already confirmed, I cannot wait to see where this series goes next.