By Gabrielle Fernandez and Charles Hill
Marvel is the biggest superhero franchise on the market and is second to none when pushing out series starring their beloved heroes. Many are fan favorites and are revered for their fantastic directing but they’re all the same clean script showing superheroes as Gods who do no evil. Many feel that life isn’t as black and white as these movies seem to portray it. Invincible and The Boys narrate the darker side of heroism and bring an aspect of realism unlike any other mainstream superhero shows.
With the 3rd season of The Boys being released recently with news on a fourth season and talk of a 2nd season of Invincible, the hype around these two shows has been significant. The Boys attracted 8 million viewers for the first 10 days of releases, reported Nielson Media Research, a firm that measures media viewership. The audience for the show has only grown, as the show is reported as the most viewed non-Netflix show in terms of minutes. Invincible also received widespread acclaim, with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 8.7/10 from IMDb. So what’s the story behind these two culturally disruptive shows?
Both shows originate from comics, Invincible’s comic release was in 2003 and officially ended in 2018 with 144 issues. However the comics gained nowhere near as much traction as the show that came out in 2021 as an animated series instead of a live action. The story goes on about a 17 year old teenage boy named Mark who is the son of a famous superhero named Omni-Man that comes from an otherworldly planet called Viltrum. He goes through a coming of age story about the true difficulties of being a superhero and how it isn’t all glamor and glitz unlike how most superhero media portrays it to be. There’s a realism that not many shows are willing to portray accurately which Invincible picks up with ease along with having mind blowing plot twists.
Wind Sun Sky Entertainment was the animation studio who took on the project and produced every single episode that has currently aired. However the workings of this show unfortunately were impacted by covid and many animators had to work from home during that time. The premiere for the show also had to be released earlier due to this which has made for some mixed reviews on the animation of Invincible. While the show looks well put together, for the time it was made in 2021, people expected greater quality for the art. “Invincible was engaging due to its animation advantages, being able to have no restrictions compared to live action scenes,” a student wrote. Even though the art might be lacking, fans of the show still appreciate its animation as a whole.
Invincible’s main suits are the plot and the relateable, well fleshed out characters that bring the show to life for its audience. There are few shows quite like this that capture a more realistic take on what living in a world with superheroes would normally be like. Not everything is going to be sunshine and rainbows with someone saving the day, there are going to be casualties and destruction which most shows don’t like to represent. Invincible is a gem to be found despite its few flaws and would be worth the watch.
The Boys comic was released in 2003 and finished in the year 2012 while the show has been airing since 2019 and is still continuing with 3 seasons so far. The Boys follows the story of Hughie Cambell, who starts as an average tech store cashier. Then, out of nowhere, his girlfriend is accidentally murdered by a superhero named A-Train. This sets off Hughie’s motivations for the rest of the plot causing him to join a rag-tag group of fugitives and failed agents whose interests all align to take down Vought, a corporation that aims to monopolize the use of superheroes instead of using regular weapons. The show takes on the darker side of how the ones we look up to may not be what they seem and it dives deep into heavier topics.
The Boys went out of its way to make its villains represent larger societal issues. In this way, live action fits better to convey the realistic vibe. “Live action is definitely more of a fit with the gruesome style of the shows because it feels so much more real and evokes much more of a genuine reaction” a student said. While Invincible is more realistic with how superhero interactions would affect the world, The Boys attempts to convey a more “realistic” approach with darker topics which may be the reason that The Boys turned more heads than Invincible. When asked which show caught a student’s attention more, he said “Easily The Boys because of its awesome story, developed characters, and even better antagonist Homelander.”
The shows commentary on Christian fundamentalism, xenophobia, and facism are potant; so is it’s character development. One student comments “the characters grew and developed during the show, such as Hughie gaining confidence in himself and Frenchie helping Kimiko feel like she fits in.” The show takes time to develop each of its characters while building on its larger themes which entices the older audience that the show is shooting for. Overall, Invincible and The Boys are both spectacular superhero shows that break away from the normal mold that Marvel and DC shows usually have. Invincible is a well written animated series while The Boys has outstanding storytelling and a more realistic feel with it’s live action. Both shows have been rated highly and with good reason due to their amazing portrayals. Whether one show is truly greater than the other, both are amazing watches for both you and your friends to enjoy if you’re into action packed series or just want something new to enjoy.