- The source material that Gen V is adapted from, “We Gotta Go Now” from The Boys comics, mocks the X-Men and Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
- Gen V shares more in common with The New Mutants than Professor X’s school, as the characters are being experimented on while being trapped.
- Gen V improves on the bad guys however as they’re more compelling and have a motivation beyond sequel bait.
The following contains spoilers for Gen V Episode 6, “Jumanji,” now streaming on Prime Video.
Many of the characters and scenarios seen in The Boys comics have taken their inspiration from Marvel and DC, with Garth Ennis creating a world where nothing was off the table. This is an element that’s been retained in the adaptation of The Boys but also its spin-off, Gen V. The show focusing on young Supes making their way through their education to be Vought’s next generation of Supes is something that’s explored in the “We Gotta Go Now” comics arc, when Hughie infiltrates the school where the G-Men are being trained by John Godolkin This is a very unsubtle reference to the X-Men and Charles Xavier.
But just like the TV show adaptation of The Boys changed from the comics, Gen V is also separating itself from its source material. One of the ways that it’s doing this is by having the Supes themselves uncover a conspiracy at the heart of the university, with some of the students finding out that the human adults don’t exactly have their best intentions at heart. This mystery that the students are unraveling helps to make the show similar to The New Mutants in a few key ways, as well as drawing from the X-Men parallels.
Gen V Is Based on a Comic Story That Mocks the X-Men
The inspiration for the comics that Gen V is based on is very clearly evocative of the X-Men. In the “We Gotta Go Now” storyline, Hughie goes undercover to investigate the G-Men to understand more about their leader, John Godolkin. The X-Men parallels are immediately apparent, as Godolkin is a twisted version of Charles Xavier, the G-Men are the X-Men, and the school they are being taught at is meant to be a place of learning for its young characters similar to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Of course, what’s going on where the G-Men are being trained is full of a lot more debauchery than the innocent students at Xavier’s school, but Ennis wanted to highlight how idealized the X-Men were and wanted to give a more disgusting take on that.
Gen V takes some ideas with this. They are being trained at Godolkin University, a reference to John Godolkin himself, and the Supes there are largely allowed to live debaucherous lives and learn about their powers. However, Gen V made several changes to the comic adaptation. Godolkin University is split up into the Lamplighter School of Crimefighting and the Crimson Countess School of Performing Arts. And there’s a closer relationship with Vought as in the show; they seek to add Supes to The Seven. In the comics, Vought decided to completely torch the G-Men due to them becoming a liability, which wouldn’t happen in the show because of the importance Godolkin University has as a testing facility.
Gen V is More Like The New Mutants Than Professor X’s School For Gifted Youngsters
The show Gen V makes a lot of changes from its comic counterpoint. The G-Men and Hughie investigating them are gone; in its place is Godolkin University. The Supes here take the center stage in investigating their own school, particularly the mystery of the woods, which is still connected to The Boys but also introduces new faces. This is where similarities between The New Mutants start to come up. To briefly summarize the film, a group of young mutants are forced to stay in a secluded building where they are subjected to therapy by Dr. Cecila Reyes. One of the young mutants, Dani, is experimented on by Reyes for the Essex Corporation, who want her DNA. Gen V is surprisingly similar to this, with the students forbidden to go off campus and the fact that the students are also being experimented on to find out how they tick for Vought, the fictional corporation in the universe of The Boys.
Both the Supes in Gen V and the young mutants in The New Mutants have to find out what’s truly going on. It’s a familiar story that sees all the characters involved bond throughout their investigations, and all of them face inner demons, albeit in very different ways. In Gen V, most of the characters come face to face with their past inside the mind of Cate, and in The New Mutants, Dani accidentally conjures up the fears of the people she’s trapped with. Both groups are trying to find out what is truly happening where they are and come up with a plan to defeat the villains and expose what’s going on. However, this is another way that Gen V differs from The New Mutants, vastly improving on the main antagonist.
Gen V’s Bad Guys Have a Better Motivation
The antagonists in Gen V and The New Mutants, Dean Shetty, Doctor Cardosa, Polarity, Professor Brink, and Doctor Reyes respectively, all know about the secrets taking place at their facilities. But Gen V makes its antagonists more compelling than The New Mutants for two crucial reasons. The most important is that because The New Mutants was attempting to set up a sequel with the Essex Corporation, it doesn’t give any clear answers to why Dani was important, and Reyes needed to get her DNA. Gen V immediately changes this as while the explicit reason hasn’t been given yet, it’s only a matter of time before Gen V explains what the Supe virus is for, but it’s likely to do with controlling Supes for Vought’s comfort. But even if the wider reason isn’t known, audiences are invested in Supes, which makes the idea of humans developing a virus to control them innately interesting and compelling.
Another reason is that, except for Polarity, Gen V’s antagonists are human, not Supes. This means the humans aren’t needlessly attacking their own kind, making a weapon that can be used on them. While Cardosa initially makes the virus only disable a test subject’s powers and give them a slight cough, Shetty orders him to make it more severe and make it contagious. It suggests that her motives are slightly more than just control. In The New Mutants, the main antagonist is Doctor Reyes, who is experimenting on the children. But she’s not that threatening throughout the film, and the lack of clear reasoning as to why she’s hurting mutants, of which she’s also one, means it’s unclear what her motivation is, which makes it difficult to connect with what’s happening.
Gen V’s core premise of young and powerful Supes figuring out that the surrounding adults are untrustworthy and are actually out to do them harm is reminiscent of The New Mutants, even though the latter leans into the horror genre more. Gen V improves on the idea by having villains that are a lot more compelling and threatening than in The New Mutants. Gen V attempts to add mystery to its storytelling, which is something that separates itself from its comic origins and from comparisons to the X-Men.
There are some bits of its source material that Gen V is faithful to, like the debaucherous teen antics, showing what modern-day teens would truly be getting up to if they were all at a university. But the show mostly moves away from its comic book story, telling its own story that while having connections to The Boys is mostly separate. It shows the desire of the creative team behind Gen V has a desire to move beyond the source material and change aspects.
From the world of “The Boys” comes “Gen V,” which explores the first generation of superheroes to know that their super powers are from Compound V. These heroes put their physical and moral boundaries to the test competing for the school’s top ranking.
- Release Date
- September 29, 2023
- Jaz Sinclair, Chance Perdomo, Maddie Phillips
- Main Genre
- Action, Adventure, Comedy
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