The animated anthology series The Boys Presents: Diabolical stays true to its brand. It is a darkly comic, lighting fast, and bloodstained ride.
This review of Amazon’s The Boys Presents: Diabolical season 1 contains no spoilers.
Eric Kripke does not have to write or direct an episode of television to turn it to gold. The executive producer of his new animated spin-off of Prime’s word-of-mouth smash hit, The Boys, is bloody disgusting and a visceral, good time. The Boys Presents: Diabolical will surely attract the core, fervent fanbase. They have gathered a bunch of respected creative talents to write and direct each episode of the anthology series. Each episode goes a little over twelve minutes, and most are unique, with the parent series folded in for perspective. Is the animated series worth your time? It certainly is if you’re a fan of Kripke’s Prime series, even if these stand-alone episodes have little reference to its televised inspiration.
Kripke has learned, especially from his time with Supernatural, never to turn your back on your core base. While each stand-alone episode can be vastly different from one another, The Boys’ underlining themes, style, and attitude never change. Take the first episode, “Laser Baby’s Day Out”, a delightful inspired piece of Looney Tunes, uh, lunacy, written and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It’s a funny and, I’ll repeat, bloody, adorable episode. It feels like they broke into the “too hot” Warner Brother’s animation television archives and gave the people what they wanted. Anyone who loves that classic style — I may be biased because my father adored them — will love this dark comedic turn.
The best episode in the series, in my opinion, is “An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents.” An absurdly entertaining outing, directed by Parker Simmons and written by Garth Ennis (Punisher, Preacher, The Boys), the Futurama and The Simpsons stylized episode also works as a revenge tale twist on finding the parents that gave them up. Here, children are orphaned because their powers are not special or become a hindrance in their parents’ lives. You even have an episode, “BFFs”, from Awkwafina, that embraces your inner little s**t. In contrast, there’s a surprisingly beautiful and poignant one, “John and Sun-Hee”, from Andy Samberg.
The running theme through most of the episodes, besides Homelander posters popping up everywhere, is the use of a drug called Compound V. This is a catalyst for most of the “issues” that cause our supes to go so terribly wrong. Also, Vought Industries, a 1930’s outfit that came to fruition under the Nazi Frederick Vought, created the blue stuff. So, there is a structured, albeit loosely constructed storyline there. While still entertaining, the episode that may be the least fun is ending the season. “One Plus One Equals Two” serves as an almost origin story for Homelander. While faithful to the brand, it’s simply less inventive than the rest.
The Boys Presents: Diabolical is a refreshing change of pace. WIth Kripke’s commitment to extraordinarily different animation styles, while staying true to the core fans, he has hit the right note to expand the series the right way. Just like a shot of Compound V, it’s a darkly comic, lighting fast, bloodstained ride.
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