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The Boys Presents: Diabolical Review

As we wait with baited breath for the highly anticipated third season of Eric Kripke’s mature superhero series The Boys – particularly to see Jensen Ackles suited up as Soldier Boy – Prime Video have whetted our appetite with animated anthology series The Boys Presents: Diabolical. Following in the footsteps of popular adult animated titles Invincible and The Legend of Vox Machina, this eight-episode series is very much in the same bloody and brutal vein – featuring an impressive array of celebrity voice actors, creators and writers.

Set in the expanded universe of the much loved hit The Boys, the pint sized episodes – which total from 12 – 15 minutes – all feature their own animation style and self-contained super themed stories. Much like Star Wars: Visions, each story has it’s influence and tone, introducing new characters in twisted new tales, delving into the often detrimental effects and cost of Vought International’s Compound V serum – and subsequent Supes – has had on the public, along with the heroes themselves.

Due to the episodes’ short runtimes, this series has a certain bingeable nature to it – but that does depend heavily on your capacity for blood, guts, gore, hyper-violence and crass humour! Due to the wide variety of animation styles and topics explored throughout the series, there’ll definitely be some more favoured than others. However, it’s great to spend more time exploring new ground in the twisted universe with brand new characters and superheroes, all the while Vought and the Seven loom large with some clever connections and cameos, particularly including Homelander. But the series is most fascinating when it explores the ramifications of Vought’s creations, along with the more ethical and emotional human-centered stories.

Some are more immature and outrageous than others – in Awkwafina’s episode “BFFs”, the protagonist gets her hands on some of Vought’s Compound V serum and literally poops out a talking, conscious turd – while Justin Roiland’s Rick and Morty-esque “An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents” features a Supe with boobs for a face. For longtime fans of the comic books, “I’m Your Pusher” is written by original author Garth Ennis and features the most fan service. This episode pays homage to his original creation with a more comic-accurate Hughie voiced by Simon Pegg (who starred as Hughie’s father in the live-action series), who the character was originally based on.

“Boyd in 3D” from Eliot and Ilana Glazer is one of the more bold episodes, with a story feeling much more in line with Black Mirror or Solos. A young couple who try out a new Vought beauty product seemingly morph into their most desired appearance, quickly becoming social media influencers and Vought stars. But their obsession with their looks and living their life online comes at a significant cost,  with the real-world connection feeling increasingly pertinent. While Archer’s Aisha Tyler’s entertaining dramedy “Nubian vs Nubian,” navigates a superhero divorce while keeping up pretences for the media.

However, it’s the final two episodes which are the real standouts. As teased in the live-action TV series, Simon Racioppa’s “One Plus One Equals Two,” explores the damaged psyche of a more inexperienced Homelander who’s haunted by his tragic and traumatic past. The episode explores the darker side of Vought and how they brutally experimented on the enhanced Supe, leaving him easily triggered under stressful and violent situations. Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg’s instalment “John and Sun-Hee” is undoubtedly the most soulful of the offerings, inspired by Korean drama and horror. With his terminally ill wife facing her final days, a Vought janitor steals a Supe serum in the hopes of saving her, but at what cost?

The American animation studio behind the series is Titmouse, who most recently worked on Critical Role animated series The Legend of Vox Machina, along with Netflix’s Big Mouth and the Animaniacs reboot. There’s such a vast array of creativity and brilliant animation styles on display, ranging from a very (bloody) Looney Tunes inspired golden age comic style courtesy of “Laser Baby”, a heavily anime inspired style with a beautiful colour palette featuring deep and warm hues and an outlandish Rick and Morty take. The animation style excels most when based on other regions from around the World – “Boyd in 3D” pulls from typically French comics and animation, while “John and Sun-Hee” takes inspiration from the beautiful Korean watercolor paintings.


The Boys Presents: Diabolical is bonkers, brutal, irrelevant & a lot of fun – with plenty of art styles and new ground to explore in the anti-superhero Vought universe. While the series isn’t necessarily impactful canonically, it’s fascinating to delve into the more human knock on effects of Compound V and the media conglomerate. Roll on June 3 for the highly anticipated third season!