MCM Comic Con London gave us the opportunity to watch the first episode of Amazon Prime’s The Boys
The Boys started life as a comic book story by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. This is what initially attracted me to the story as I’m a big fan of Ennis’s other work, Preacher, of which I love both the original comic and the television adaptation.
After I saw the first teaser trailer for The Boys, I eagerly read the original comic run to find out what it was all about.
The Boys is set in a world where superheroes are commonplace. However, there are only a select few who are the really big names, they are referred to as The Seven.
The Seven are The Boys version of the Justice League, led by a superhero known as The Homelander. With the stars and stripes featuring heavily on his costume, he is the all-American hero and the public love him.
Unlike the Marvel and DC superheroes we know and love, in The Boys, they are all effectively under the rule of the Vought Corporation.
The Vought Corporation makes a sizeable amount of income from the huge merchandising sales. As we know, merchandising from superheroes is like printing your own money.
The corporation treats the superheroes as business assets and as we see in the first episode, several cities bid hundreds of thousands of dollars so they can have a superhero they can call their own in order to protect the city and help reduce crime.
The Boys version of the Justice League, The Seven led by The Homelander (Right)
These superheroes aren’t entirely squeaky clean either, in their downtime they like to relax in a whole series of sordid ways to try and relieve their boredom. Sometimes, superheroes make mistakes or take events too far.
This is where The Boys of the title come into play. In the comic, they are revealed to be a black ops CIA team who have been created to overwatch the superheroes. To reign them in when matters get out of hand.
Running for seventy-two issues, The Boys is very entertaining, funny and extremely violent. So how well has this been translated to the small screen?
Well, Will and I were lucky enough to see the first episode and this year’s MCM Comic Con in London.
Firstly, I’d just to add that there wasn’t enough publicity for this show at the Con. There was only one poster cube on the floor. Our showing had no introduction from anyone, live or recorded. The only presence were two guys who were professionally recording comments from a few audience members before and after the presentation.
Maybe Amazon wanted the reactions from people who really had no idea what to expect? After seeing a preview of Mortal Engines last year which had an introduction from Peter Jackson, I just found this one lacking.
But that doesn’t affect my thoughts on the first episode though.
Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid) is your everyday American Joe who works in a small independent electronics store.
His girlfriend picks him up from work and they start to walk home. As they make small talk, she makes a small step into the road where she is obliterated by the superhero A-Train (similar to The Flash). That last sentence doesn’t do justice to the on-screen visuals. This is an incredibly visceral scene that really sets the tone for the rest of the show.
After her funeral, Hughie tries to continue with his life but is contacted by a lawyer from the Vought Corporation. If he signs the relevant forms and agrees to a non-disclosure agreement and never discusses what happened to his girlfriend, they’ll pay him $42,000.
Hughie is disgusted that they treat people in this way and refuses. He tries to discuss it with his father, as played by Simon Pegg with a questionable accent but is surprised when he tries to convince Hughie to take the much-needed money.
Billy Butcher (far right) and The Boys
Back at work, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban with apparently an English accent) introduces himself to Hugie. He has heard about Hughie’s refusal to accept the standard Vought Corporation accidental death contract and explains that if they work together, they can expose the superhero world for what it really is and get his own back for the unfortunate death of his girlfriend.
This first episode also has a second intertwined plot thread involving a small-town Christian girl, Annie January (Erin Moriarty). She has a superhero alter ego, Starlight. Annie has the ability to create an intensely blinding hot white light.
Annie is over the moon when she discovers she has been chosen to replace a member of the illustrious Seven. But once there, she discovers there not as wholesome as the public is led to believe in another hilarious reveal that I won’t spoil here.
Based purely on this first episode of The Boys, it looks to be a faithful adaptation of the comic, even if it was taking the story at a slower pace.
The only downside for me as already mentioned was Karl Urban’s accent, however, I was enjoying the episode so much, I was willing to overlook this detail.
The humour hits the mark and the episode was very funny throughout with some great visual gags in how the superheroes use their powers for other than saving people.
For myself, the funniest line was hearing Karl Urban using the very British swear word that begins with a ‘c’ and rhymes with ‘hunt’.
The violence is very graphic with plenty of blood flying around the screen, this is entertainment for adults and as having read the source material, I know there is a lot more to come!
The first episode ended with a scene that raised several questions and despite knowing the answers already, I’m eager to watch the rest of the show.
The applause from the rest of the audience hints that this is a show with a different slant on the superhero genre that the comic con crowd of fellow nerd and geeks are eager to see more of.
The Boys will premiere on Amazon Prime from July 26th.