At this stage, not too much is known about Amazon's adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's The Boys comic, but during this year's New York Comic Con, star Karl Urban revealed one way in which the show will differentiate itself from the source material. Instead of the CIA-sponsored vigilante team getting imbued with powers through the injection of Compound V, they'll be as human as the rest of us when they take on The Seven.
The Boys adaptation comes from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who have found success on AMC adapting another Ennis work, Preacher. Both comics feature Ennis' traditional violence and depravity, not to mention the author's preference for iconoclastic satire. Of course, Ennis himself said The Boys would "out-Preacher Preacher."
The Boys centers around vigilante team as they try to bring down a team of very corrupt superheroes known as The Seven. The trailer shown at the NYCC panel confirmed that by and large, the premise of the show mirrors that the comic pretty closely.
Instead of the altruistic, selfless personas found in many mainstream superhero comics, The Seven are closer to elite athletes who perform "heroic" feats in exchange for large pay checks. Their utter lack of accountability has resulted in deviant lifestyles in the extreme, thus resulting in the need for a team like The Boys to keep them in line. That's where the elimination of Compound V at this point marks a clear divergence from the comic.
Led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), The Boys are enhanced with Compound V -- which imbues them with enhanced strength and durability -- in order to give them more of a fighting chance against the superheroes. The compound is also at the heart of why the superheroes exist in the first place, with "origin stories" used as cover for those who have taken the drug or are born with its effects.
When the question was raised in an interview with CBR at NYCC 2018, Urban confirmed that it wouldn't be used in the show, at least not at this point.
"That's probably one of the differences between the comics and the series," he said. "Eric Kripke -- our creator, our showrunner and sort of head writer -- really wanted to present a story about humans with non-super abilities taking on the elite 1% of the 1%.
"It's representative of the little guy taking on The Man. So, at this stage, none of us, none of the The Boys, have superpowers or are enhanced by Compound V.
"Well, except for you..."
The "you" Urban referred to was Karen Fukuhara, who plays the only woman on The Boys, aptly named "The Female." In the comics, her defining characteristics are her penchant for ripping the faces of her victims off, as well as explosively eviscerating certain people who come into contact with her.
Given Urban's pointed exclusion of her in his clarification of the absence of Compound Z, it appears that The Female serves as a way to introduce the existence of the material or simply that she's a super on her own. The comics have their own explanation, but there's no telling at this point if Kripke will decide to let that influence her evolution on the show.
The Boys stars Karl Urban, Karen Fukuhara, Laz Alonso, Erin Moriarty, Antony Starr, Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, Simon Pegg and Jack Quaid. It's set to premiere on Amazon in 2019.