Bisexual superhero Queen Maeve found herself the perfect hiding spot: she’s on a show that’s A) on Amazon Prime and B) called The Boys. So on my own, I may never have found her. But luckily my brand is so strong that even this perfect storm of camouflage couldn’t keep her from me, because a coworker wasn’t even done with the series yet before she knew she had to alert me to her existence. And so now I’m here to share her with you.
I imagine the concept meeting for The Boys being something along the lines of, “What if Captain America was secretly an asshole.” (In reality, it’s based on a comic book by the same name…though I suppose the origin of that could have been the same.) The show imagines a universe where superheroes in the United States are celebrities of the highest esteem, but are actually backed by a high-powered, very corrupt marketing conglomerate who cares more about the money these heroes rake in than the people they may or may not save. If you’ve ever watched a Marvel or DC movie or read a comic book, you’ll be able to recognize the archetypes represented in the most famous group of “supes”, called The Seven. You have your All-American hero, your speedster, your warrior woman, the wide-eyed ingenue, etc.
When I say I was in love with Queen Maeve within the first 30 seconds of her being on screen, I am not exaggerating, because, I mean, LOOK:
She’s got the style and strength of Wonder Woman and the misandry of Captain Marvel, all mixed together with some heavy bonus baggage. Basically my ideal woman. Tough exterior with a squishy center is my entire jam.
We’re introduced to this world with Queen Maeve saving some kids, Homelander (the Captain America/Superman type) taking all the credit, and said kids wanting selfies after. A few scenes later, the speedster supe, A-Train, runs directly through a woman, exploding her on contact. And you thought Arrow was dark.
So instantly we know what this show’s about: it’s gritty, it’s fucked up, and it’s here to turn everything you thought you knew about a superhero show on its head.
The show largely follows two main characters, a “normal” man named Hughie, boyfriend of the ‘sploded girl, and the newest member of The Seven, a supe named Starlight. Starlight is the wide-eyed ingenue who grew up with her state mom putting her in Miss Hero Pageants, idolizing The Seven and always dreaming of being one of them someday. But on her very first day, she’s sexually assaulted by The Deep (the supe with water-related powers) and she soon learns that being a superhero isn’t the glamorous life full of saving people she had always dreamed it would be, which even leads her questioning her faith (since she was lead to believe God made her a supe and wanted her to be a hero.)
I really enjoyed this show overall, for all its grit and gore, but also the very human themes throughout. Starlight was literally “superabled” – she can harness electricity and use its energy as a weapon – and yet even she didn’t know her own strength when faced with a manipulative douchebag she once looked up to.
The show follows Starlight’s journey as she learns about the world in a sort of trial-by-fire kind of way, the only other woman on her side being Queen Maeve, who frankly at first feels very “suck it up, kid” about the whole situation.
But Queen Maeve has her own shit going on, which we learn a bit about when she goes to see her ex-girlfriend Elena. It’s clear things are complicated there, and I hope in Season Two we learn a little more about what exactly went down and why Queen Maeve is a little more breakable than she dares let on.
Maeve is a very “love is a weakness” kind of gal, whereas Starlight comes in all “love is all we need,” but maybe together they can find that there’s a middle ground for both of them.
Overall, I really enjoyed this show, but I cannot overstate enough that it is not for everyone. When I say it’s gory, I mean it. And I don’t give that warning lightly. (In fact, I’m notoriously bad at registering gore enough to warn people about it, but I noticed it in this.) I’d offer some light trigger warnings about sexual assault and animal death, and of course people death. Among the men, it doesn’t rate too poorly on racial diversity (there are some supes that are definitely poking fun at the lack of diversity in big-budget superhero franchises, but there are also some men of color in the main cast) though the only woman of color in the main cast is Kimiko, an Asian woman who never speaks (though she IS pretty kickass).
The Boys was already renewed for a second season, and hopefully we learn more about Maeve and Elena’s history, and maybe their future. Either way, I’ll be tuning in to watch Kimiko kick some more men’s asses, learn more about Starlight’s journey, and revel in Maeve’s continued badassery.