Jaz Sinclair (Marie Moreau) in Gen V on Prime Video

REVIEW: ‘Gen V’ Takes the Diabolical Nature of ‘The Boys’ to a New Generation

5/5 shrinking roommates.

Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys often feels like it is poking fun at the superhero genre, and in many ways, it is. But where it pokes at the genre many of us hold so dear to our hearts, it’s also commentary on what superheroes stand for. And within that same universe, we now have Gen V. A show centered around a generation of heroes who were created using the superpower-bestowing Compound V without their consent, the series starts with Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair) realizing, as a teenager, the danger of her powers.

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Rooted in the college of Godolkin University, also known as “God U,” what makes Gen V so addictive to watch is that every character is as lost in the mystery of what’s happening around them as the next. It isn’t as “diabolical” as The Boys because these characters are still kids in a lot of ways. Marie is a freshmen at God U, and while a lot of her friends are juniors and older than she is, they’re still just college kids trying to navigate their powers and figuring out what they want to do with their lives. Separated by their “majors,” the school is a bit more focused based on what Vought industries wants its superpowered students to do with their lives.

If you manage to get into criminology? You could become one of the Seven—but that’s not an easy place to get into, and that is very much where Marie wants to end up at the start of the show. Much like The Boys, the series starts off with a bang that keeps augiences engaged with the mystery of what Vought Industries is up to and has Marie and her newfound friends embroiled in the chaos and murder surrounding their school life.

Friends, crushes, and murder

Jaz Sinclair (Marie Moreau) and Lizze Broadway (Emma) in Gen V on Prime Video
(Prime Video)

Marie is a loner from the start, and it means when she rolls up to God U to meet her roommate Emma (Lizze Broadway), who also doesn’t seem to have anyone she consider her “friends.” Emma’s power is simply that she can make herself incredibly small and does so for social media (and is currently in a major to work in movies and television for superheroes). Emma and Marie sort of become friends at the start while still struggling to understand each other, but it is clear that they are two women who never had anyone ask them how they felt about everything happening to them.

That’s the crux of everyone’s problem on the show: No one is open in their emotions and no one asks each other how they feel about something. They all have hero complexes and none of them are willing to explore it. Throughout the six episodes released to the press so far, the arc of the eight-episode season is made abundantly clear: Vought Industries and their corrupt nature runs deep—deep enough to hit even at places like Godolkin University.

What they clearly didn’t expect was the care these individuals would have for each other. Starting with Golden Boy, a.k.a. Luke (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and his status at the school, you can see how the friend group breaks down from the first episode of Gen V. But even that is tested throughout the season, with the power dynamic shifting and characters caring about each other in surprising way. Given the powers that these characters have, it isn’t surprising that they’re less focused on destroying each other and more interested in what is happening with “The Woods.”

The mystery behind God U

(L-R) Chance Perdomo (Andre Anderson), Sean Patrick Thomas (Polarity)
(Prime Video)

It wouldn’t be a spinoff of The Boys if the show were just about supes living their lives in college. So, Gen V’s deeper story about corruption at Vought and a hidden agenda is, well, par for the course. What makes it so good is how it uses its student characters to unfold the story. It easily could have let the teachers be part of the action or have characters like Hughie (Jack Quaid) reflected in the series, but instead we get to see how the younger generation of superheroes are reacting to what Vought Industries is trying to mold them into.

Characters like Andre (Chance Perdomo) come from a superhero legacy. His father is Polarity (Sean Patrick Thomas), and everyone at school knows it. Even the dean, Indira Shetty (Shelley Conn), uses the connections these students have to her advantage, as do the other adults at God U. But setting the show in college means that each of these characters has a level of understanding about themselves that makes them more aware of what is going on and who they can trust. They’re not as easy swayed by the adults around them to just believe in them, and even when they do trust someone, they’re still wary of what it could mean in the long run.

Powers like we haven’t seen before

London Thor (Jordan Li) in Gen V for Prime Video
(Prime Video)

The Boys pokes at a lot of superhero tropes we do know already. Characters like Homelander (Antony Starr) has the characteristics of Superman and Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy is supposed to be a Captain America knockoff. In Gen V, we get to see a bit more variety in the powers. One of the more fascinating choices is to have Jordan Li with their ability to shift gender.

Played by Derek Luh and London Thor, Jordan’s ability makes it so that they can switch gender while fighting and existing throughout their life and can chose which gender fits them at any given moment. It brings up a fascinating conversation about gender identity and how Jordan themself identifies when talking with their parents, when their father refuses to acknowledge that they also identify as a woman at times.

Without outright using the label of non-binary, the show does adopt the approach of using they/them pronouns when referring to Jordan, and watching as their friends easily adapt and bring this into their vernacular while talking about Jordan is incredible in a show like Gen V. Jordan’s powers, Marie’s overcoming of the danger of her own powers (which are based in controlling blood), and many of our heroes learning the strength that comes from themselves is what makes this series so special.

Gen V stands apart from The Boys, and while connected to that series, it is something that has legs all its own and will be something fans are going to love. You personally might not want to go to God U, but you will want to see what your new friends are up to each week. I love all my new favorite students so much.

(featured image: Prime Video)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.