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The Boys Presents Diabolical review: A hilarious, gory animated amuse-bouche for the main series

The Boys Presents Diabolical review: It may not be that politically and culturally aware with little emotional impact in comparison, but it reaches far further heights of crazy than the parent series could even dream of.

The Boys Presents DiabolicalThe Boys Presents: Diabolical is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. (Photo: Amazon Studios)

The Boys Presents: Diabolical is an animated series and a spinoff of Amazon Prime Video’s comic-book series The Boys. An anthology series, its each episode tells us unseen stories within the original show’s universe.

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For those unaware, The Boys is set in a world in which superheroes exist and are called Supes. But instead of being symbols of hope and nobility, they are blinded by their powers, fame and money and many of them share qualities that usually define supervillains like narcissism and no moral compass.

If they do save people, they do it in front of the camera. And their public persona help corporations like Vought (which owns the Seven, the most powerful of supes) sell merchandise, movie, theme park tickets, breakfast cereal and other stuff. Most of the supes are just vain, corrupt, and careless, but some are downright psychopaths.

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The Boys franchise is based on the comic-book series from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. Diabolical, which derives its name from the catchphrase of one of the original series’ main characters, Billy Butcher (“F***ing diabolical” is how he describes the indescribable).

Diabolical is not your usual spinoff series and does not explore, for instance, how the springing up of corporation-owned superhero culture has affected other countries. Instead, it is intended to be an appetiser to temporarily satiate your hunger until the main course (that’d be The Boys season 3) arrives in June this year. However, the series is actually gloriously insane, it’s own thing and pretty rewatchable (that is good, for all the episodes clock less than 15 minutes)

The series features a voice-cast that would shame a Disney-Pixar movie. Awkwafina, Frances Conroy, Michael Cera, Don Cheadle, Chace Crawford, Kieran Culkin, Giancarlo Esposito, Jason Isaacs, Kumail Nanjiani, Justin Roiland, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Ben Schwartz, Elisabeth Shue, Christian Slater, Kevin Smith, Antony Starr, are only few of the names.

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Even more than its parent, Diabolical, thanks to the animation medium and, presumably it being non-canonical, goes to even stranger and crazier places.

The first episode, Laser Baby’s Day Out, is also among the best. It’s Baby’s Day Out, but if the movie was set in The Boys’ universe. A baby does escape from its designated place (here, it is not a home, but a lab in which supe-babies are being experimented on), and wreaks havoc on its armed pursuers. The episode is uber-fun in a disgusting way, and after a point you realise even 2D animated gore can turn your stomach.

One other standout is BFFS, written by and starring Awkwafina as a tomboyish girl who gets her hands on a vial of Compound V while scoring weed for more girlish, popular girls. She downs the contents in one go, and gets the power of controlling and giving life to… human faeces. Previously friend-less, she gets a turd as her first friend. By the end of the episode, she has thrown a party for her several turd-friends that she made in the sewers. If all this sounds bananas, bananas is what you get.

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The best episode, for me, was I’m Your Pusher, in which The Boys comics fan will get a stringently faithful paper-to-screen adaptation. Written by Ennis himself, it has Butcher and the comic-accurate, short and Scottish Hughie accosting a drug dealer for Supes and coercing him into killing a new entrant to the Seven. Calling himself Great Wide Wonder, the wannabe Seven superstar administers himself enemas of heroine (I am not making this up). The said enema is spiked on Butcher and Hughie’s urging and the entrant arrives to the stage… well, not himself. Things go terribly wrong — for the supes, you understand. Butcher and Hughie get what they wanted.

Diabolical is the perfect amuse-bouche for the main series. It may not be that politically and culturally aware and has little emotional impact, but it reaches far further heights of crazy than The Boys could even dream of.

The Boys Presents: Diabolical is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

First published on: 07-03-2022 at 08:38:40 am
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