Diabolical Offers Wild Superpowered Raunch Awaiting Season 3: Review
The post office The Boys Presents: Diabolical Offers Wild Superpowered Raunch As We Wait For Season 3: Review appeared first on Result.
The pitch: Animated spin-off anthologies for popular nerd properties are all the rage, it seems; hot in the back of Star Wars Visions just a few months ago, Prime Video’s hit superhero satire The boys gets one in the form of Boys Present: Devilish.
Inspired, presumably, by their other comic book bloody adaptation Invinciblehere we have eight distinct stories, with eight distinct animation styles, telling stories in and around the world of the corporate-sponsored (and created) superhero series, and the gut-strewn trails they leave in their wake.
Across eight Adult Swim-sized stories, the anthology takes a look at the following tales of superpowered mayhem:
• A silent Tex Avery caper with a Vought scientist chasing the laser-eyed baby of his dreams;
• Residents of a home for teenagers with deceptive superpowers plot to kill their parents;
• Billy Butcher (this time voiced by Jason Isaac) causes the Seven’s resident drug dealer to mess up their supply;
• An average-looking couple uses supercharged body lotion to make themselves look like their idealized selves (and keep their social media accounts buzzing);
• A young woman (Awkwafina) takes Compound V and befriends his sensitive turd;
• The daughter of a power couple of black superheroes calls on her parents’ old nemesis to put the fight back in their shaky marriage;
• An elderly man (Randall Duk Kim) steals Compound V to save his dying wife;
• Homeland (Antoine Starr) undertakes his first morally gray mission for Vought, with Black Noir hot on his heels to keep him in line.
Cartoon Violence: In a television landscape committed to deconstructing the myth of superheroes (see: watchmen, Peacemaker, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow yeahIseadit), Eric Kripke’s adaptation of the hit comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson The boys stands out for its almost youthful preoccupation with the raunchy, the gore and heaps of profanity.
Yes, there’s a surprising amount to be said for the real impact of superpowered beings in a modern world (namely, that companies would immediately try to make money off of them and turn them into brands/products), but it juggles a sly sense of humor, high body counts, and volumes of blood in Verhoeven’s films.
As a palate cleanser between seasons of the main show (Season 2 ended in October 2020 and COVID pushed Season 3 back to June this year), Prime Video provided this animated anthology with all the peaks and valleys that you would expect from such an undertaking.
Some of the shorts are absolutely fantastic, playing with the trappings of the show’s world to create funny or heartbreaking stories that stand on their own. Others? Well, let’s just say that 12 minutes is often not enough to tell a story.
The series starts off fairly slowly in its first half with “Laser Baby’s Day Out,” the play written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen that plays as if “Duck Amuck” was directed by Peter Jackson in the 90s. Vought scientist who falls in love with a super-powered baby with deadly laser eyes (a gag we’ve already seen put to good use in season 1 of The boys), it’s cute in concept but wears out quickly.
After all, between Invincible and the aforementioned live-action appearance, there’s not much to do with the laser-baby stuffing except for a few mildly clever gags and some superficial aesthetic callbacks to old Looney Tunes shorts.
The Boys Presents: Diabolical (Prime Video)
“An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents” by Justin Roiland and Ben Bayouth gives us a rick and morty-fied getaway in the Boys universe, with Compound V recipients who get disappointing (or downright tragic) powers: The Woman Who’s Completely Intangible, The Man With A Boombox Head Who Plays Nothing But Hootie and Blowfish’s “Only Wanna Be With You”, a child with boobs for eyeballs, you get the picture. It’s perhaps the most hilarious short in the anthology, tinged with that interpersonal pathos that pervades Rick and Morty. He’s a winner.
Less successful, however, are those that try to keep us grounded in the show business itself, oddly enough; Comics creator Ennis writes ‘The Pusher,’ which ends up feeling a bit boring and shallow, save for one particularly gnarly gag in the climax involving a super-fast supe jumped on spawning drugs. a path through another member of The Seven.
And the closest, “One Plus One Equals Two,” primarily entertains in that it teases the idea that Homelander (Antony Starr) wasn’t a total sociopath before we met him on the show; instead, he was pushed into it by necessity and cold-blooded orders from Vought leaders. Basically more Diabolical happens to feel like it’s monkey Invinciblethe less interesting it becomes.
Shit in the Punchbowl: But put Compound V in the hands of writers and animators who contrast blood buckets with unexpected sweetness, and Diabolical manages to shine a little more. Take “Boyd in 3D,” a small-scale romance about two people who internalize the vanity and validation that social media provides and project it onto their bodies and their own relationships. It’s light and unexpected, even if it ends with an unnecessarily cruel twist.
Awkwafina (and stars!) “BFFs” pens, probably the cutest of the bunch, styled after shojo anime and follow a young girl who forms an inseparable bond with literal shit. “Nubian v. Aisha Tyler’s Nubian” is a decent enough lark, toying with the tried-and-true married superhero couple tropes without really innovating on them as much; Still, Tyler has a flair for quick-witted dialogue, and John DiMaggio is a hoot as the Nubians’ nemesis Vought, a wretched middle-aged hawk with hammers for hands named Groundhawk.
The Boys Presents: Diabolical (Prime Video)
But the most surprising entry is easily “John and Sun-hee”, which can be described as At the top meets Akira— the story of an old man trying to do everything he can to earn another day with his wife, who is in the hospital dying of terminal cancer. Steve In Chang Ahn’s beautiful hand-drawn animation keeps the violent brief of The boys‘, this time amplified by the cosmic and emotional trappings of Korean horror.
And at the center of it all, he uses a clumsy super-powered elixir to externalize a woman’s battle with cancer and a man’s struggle to say goodbye to the woman he loves. Prepare to be shocked that this short was written by Andy Samberg…if your eyes aren’t too dusty to read the end credits.
The verdict: Paradoxically, Boys Present: Devilish does best when it shuns the teenage antics of its source material and takes on bigger conceptual swings. Define a stand-alone romantic tragedy or a social media parable in the margins of the world? Yes please! Trying to continue the adventures of established characters in the same old universe we watched? Not really.
Such is the fate of so many of these anthologies; some will inevitably work better than others. For a good time, skip to “An Animated Short…”, “Boyd in 3D”, “BFFs”, and “John and Sun-Hee”. But really, at a full two-hour battery life, Diabolical will hardly waste your time.
Where is it playing? The Boys Presents: Devilish summons an army of sentient turds and swarms to Amazon on March 4th.