Comic book content has been at the forefront of the Hollywood zeitgeist for over a decade, and with it comes many different takes and adaptations of the superhero. In addition to the half a dozen Marvel and DC projects every year, this wave of superhero media has also brought different twists and subversions of the ideas and tropes that have enamored the public.

None perhaps have pushed the envelope as much as the Amazon Studios series “The Boys.” Three seasons in and with a fourth on the way, “The Boys” explores a corporate and political world of superheroes through a satirical lens, often diving into the dark and explicit. The show has achieved an incredible amount of acclaim and has managed to stick out among — and arguably because of — the influx of comic book projects within the entertainment industry.

Recently, the universe of “The Boys” was expanded with the spin-off series “Gen V.” Fans will have no idea what they’re in for as this series is just as shocking and over the top as its predecessor. “Gen V” will certainly introduce new fans to the franchise while pleasing any existing ones wanting more as they wait for season four of “The Boys.”

“Gen V” centers around Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair) and other superpowered students she associates with at Godolkin University, a school for those with superpowers run by Vought International, a malevolent corporation behind superpowered activity in the franchise. At this university, Marie and friends uncover a conspiracy around the school and the harm it is planning on doing, creating conflict and division as they don’t know who they can trust and what to do to stop this.

The show sets itself firmly within the world of “The Boys,” with characters from the show making appearances and events and plot points being referenced in the series. The show is a continuation of season three of “The Boys” and sets up what we will be seeing in season four. This makes the show a recommended viewing for anyone hoping to get the full picture, even if both series seem like they will make sense on their own as well. The plot is compelling and surprising, with moments of both fun and darkness throughout. The tone, the plot and the writing resembles the show’s predecessor and feels at place within that world.

Where “Gen V” really manages to shine though is in its characters. Unlike “The Boys” where many of the main characters are human and working against the superheroes and Vought, “Gen V” has a main cast of almost entirely superpowered characters, allowing for a greater exploration of what it means to have these abilities within this world.

Powers are presented in ways that no other superhero media has shown up to this point, taking out the glamorous side of these abilities. Marie has the ability to manipulate and control blood while her roommate Emma Meyer (Lizze Broadway) can grow and shrink in size by eating and vomiting, which is used to speak to bodily perceptions and social media. London Thor and Derek Luh portray different aspects of the character Jordan Li, whose gender fluidity creates representation for a group that hasn’t been seen in the medium thus far. These ways of looking at powers and how they relate to characters and their identities is best seen with Cate Dunlap (Maddie Phillips), who is telepathic, and creates a compelling and complex character that draws the viewer in. The story allows for very human moments as it explores things superhero media often doesn’t address.

The one thing that felt lacking in “Gen V” was that it was too consistent with “The Boys.” At times, the show feels more like a season 3.5 than its own thing. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, one would hope that with these amazing characters and opportunities for storytelling, the show would do more to separate itself in tone and plot.

Overall, “Gen V” is an incredible show that is just as good as “The Boys,” if not better in some ways. With the first season being enjoyed and successful enough for a season two renewal, hopefully those behind the series are willing to take more risks and create something distinct to further flesh out this incredibly compelling world. Regardless, it seems that “The Boys” franchise shows no sign of slowing down as quality remains at its usual high level.

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars