The Pitch: Animated spinoff anthologies for popular nerd properties are all the rage, it seems; hot off the back of Star Wars Visions a mere few months ago, Prime Video’s hit superhero satire The Boys gets one in the form of The Boys Presents: Diabolical.
Taking inspiration, presumably, from their other blood-soaked comic book adaptation Invincible, here we’ve got eight distinct stories, with eight distinct animation styles, telling stories in and around the show’s world of corporate-sponsored (and created) superheroes, and the intestine-strewn trails they leave in their wake.
Across eight Adult Swim-sized stories, the anthology peeks into the following tales of superpowered mayhem:
• A Tex Avery-style silent caper with a Vought scientist chasing down the laser-eyed baby of his dreams;
• The residents of a juvenile home for teens with disappointing superpowers scheme to kill their parents;
• Billy Butcher (this time voiced by Jason Isaacs) gets The Seven’s resident drug pusher to mess up their supply;
• An average-looking couple use superpowered body lotion to make themselves look like their idealized selves (and keep their social media accounts buzzing);
• A young woman (Awkwafina) takes Compound V and befriends her sentient turd;
• The daughter of a Black superhero power couple calls on her parents’ old nemesis to put the fight back in their flagging marriage;
• An elderly man (Randall Duk Kim) steals Compound V to save his dying wife;
• Homelander (Antony Starr) goes on his first morally-grey mission for Vought, with Black Noir hot on his heels to keep him in line.
Cartoon Violence: In a television landscape committed to deconstructing the superhero mythos (see: Watchmen, Peacemaker, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow yeahIseadit), Eric Kripke’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s bestselling comic series The Boys stands out for its almost-juvenile preoccupation with raunch, gore, and heaps of profanity.
Yes, it’s got a surprising amount to say about the real-world impact of superpowered beings in a modern world (namely, that corporations would immediately try to make money off them and turn them into brands/products), but it juggles that with a devious sense of humor, a high body count, and Verhoeven-movie volumes of blood.