The Boys: ASAB (All Supes Are Bastards)

by Brian Tan
In The Boys, there are many incidents which display how corrupt the superheroes are. Photo: Amazon

It was only two days before the 2020 election when I finished watching season 2 of Amazon Prime’s The Boys. And boy, there couldn’t be a better time to finish the series. The show is jam-packed with political satire that is relevant to the Trump administration and especially to the mayhem that ensued this past summer as well. As someone who is not into superhero movies, I can appreciate how accurate this series played a parallel story to what I watch on the news. This review will mainly be focusing on the different political satire that I’ve picked up while watching The Boys and it will assume that the reader knows the plot and the characters.

It will also contain some spoilers.

I lived in Seattle during the murder of George Floyd. As many of you might have known, Seattle is one of the major cities that are known for its ongoing protests of Floyd’s death and police brutality. It is even named as an “Anarchist Jurisdiction” by Bill Barr along with Portland and New York City. Every street corner was graffitied with “ACAB” which stands for “All Cops Are Bastards.” I can’t help but to see the eerie resemblance of what the protesters are expressing and its relation to how these superheroes are in the series. Both are corrupt. Both are racist. Both brutalize their own civilians with their disproportionate amount of power. In the show, there are many incidents which display how corrupt the superheroes are. When Homelander and Stormfront went out to handle a robbery case, they both decided to kill the man instead of turning in him. After a video of Homelander killing a civilian with his lasers, a protest erupts. The protest is led by congresswoman Victoria Neuman, who strongly resembles a progressive congresswoman in New York by the name of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Much like the police system in the US, The Supe has been associated with racism. In the year that this post is published, the US is experiencing an international uprising against the police for brutality and violence against people of color. The show touches on the rise of white nationalism with the Trump presidency. In several episodes of the show, it shows Homelander and Stormfront talking to a crowd of white people with American flags in the background about how they are under attack by terrorists. The fear-mongering, conservative media and the radicalization is so strong that it drove a white male to shoot a store clerk after accusing him of being a “foreign super terrorist”. Later in the story, we find out that Stormfront is actually a Nazi. In one episode, we find her killing a black man after she accuses him of driving a car involved in a robbery. Before his death, he asks, “Aren’t you supposed to be a hero?” In which she sardonically responds, “I am a hero…for killing a Black piece of shit like you.”

In The Boys, the main superheroes don’t just resemble the police force- they resemble mega-corporations as well. These superheroes are members of The Seven which is part of an American multi-billion dollar conglomerate called Vought International. And much like US politics, the government is heavily influenced by corporate, dark money. US corporations these days will use marginalized groups to appeal to the public and sell more products. Examples of these are the branding of rainbows on corporate logos when June rolls around the corner. In any gay pride event in any major city, you will see different floats sponsored by different corporations. This was not the case 10 years ago. It has been so fundamental that even the police union has its own float as well. The ironic thing is that gay pride started off as a riot against the police as part of the Stonewall riots in June 1969. In the show, Maeve even becomes their token queer person. Once Ashley finds this out, she does whatever she can to promote her queerness – even curating her coming out story and having a fit when she finds Maeve in bed with another man. Not to mention the season’s feminist motif of the “Girls Get It Done” motif is meant to appeal to their female fan base.

Both seasons are great but I will have to say that season two is the better one. I would give this season a rating of 4.3 out of 5. I am a sucker for smart shows and can’t wait for season 3 of The Boys.

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