Ladies and gentlemen, supes and civies, introducing Gen V, the latest addition to The Boys universe. This teen-focused spinoff brings its own brand of brilliance to the superhero genre, blending mind-bending action with astute metaphors for the complexities of adolescence, all while serving up heaps of entertainment.
Set in the gap between the third and upcoming fourth seasons of The Boys, Gen V introduces us to the next generation of “supes.” These young heroes are unlike any others, as they discover that their powers stem from the infamous Compound V, a gift from their parents.
Marie Moreau (played by the talented Jaz Sinclair) kickstarts the series with a traumatic origin story that’s bound to leave you in awe. Imagine realizing that the elixir your parents gave you as a child turns your blood into a deadly weapon, and your first period results in a fatal disaster. That’s the kind of jaw-dropping opening Gen V delivers. Creators Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Craig Rosenberg clearly aim to push boundaries, and they succeed with flying colors. A scene featuring the pint-sized superhero Emma (played by Lizzie Broadway) might even outdo Termite’s most famous moments, leaving you questioning your eyesight – but yes, you definitely saw what you thought you did.
Following her tragic incident, Marie finds herself in a home for wayward proto-supes until she secures a coveted spot at Vought’s prestigious Godolkin University of Crimefighting. This marks the first step toward her dream of becoming the first Black woman to join The Seven, the elite superhero group. At Godolkin, Marie encounters Luke (played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, and yes, he’s every bit as impressive as you’d expect), a fire-wielding Superman who sets the standard on the school’s leaderboard. The group also includes shapeshifting Jordan, metal-bending Andre, mind-bending empath Cate, along with Emma and the obligatory mean girl, Justine. Together, they delve into a mystery involving Luke’s supposedly deceased brother, Sam, the enigmatic facility known as The Woods, and the corrupt and perilous Vought organization.
Gen V excels not only in its playful take on traditional superhero tropes but also in its exploration of media influence (social media followers are as vital as superpowers) and the dynamics of race and class privilege. Marie’s journey on the lower rung of the university hierarchy underscores the challenges faced by those without a safety net. The series also deftly encapsulates contemporary issues, from non-binary identity exploration to the pressures of online culture.
Beneath the surface-level gore, a thoughtful intelligence weaves the narrative together. While character development could use some fleshing out, with Marie’s complex mix of guilt and ambition and Emma’s quiet loneliness being notable exceptions, there’s hope for deeper exploration as the series progresses. For now, though, savor the exhilarating ride that Gen V offers, as it keeps us entertained until The Boys makes its triumphant return. And as a parting note, don’t forget to stay vigilant for what lies ahead when The Boys reclaims the spotlight.