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The Boys Has One Innocent Super Team - But Their Story Is Too Heartbreaking For TV

The following article contains mentions of sexual abuse and child abuse.

Grim though it often is, Amazon Studios' "The Boys" can't hold a torch to Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's original comics when it comes to sheer brutality. The marked differences between "The Boys" comic and the show are many, from the way various characters are depicted to their backstories and power sets. 

While the comic is generally far more extreme than the show in its portrayal of various atrocities, it also contains a superteam that's genuinely so nice that it would seem out of place in the show. Super Duper is a collection of young superpowered people Vought International has chosen to keep on the sidelines because of the members' mental disabilities and unwieldy power sets. An expy of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes, Super Duper's official backstory presents them as a team of heroic kids from the future, though in reality, they're essentially a group of New Jersey housemates. While the comic series does ridicule them on occasion, the team is generally presented as a collection of polite individuals who are well-liked in their community and resemble a tight-knit family unit as opposed to Vought's usual cold, corrupt super-teams. 

Of course, everything goes wrong when Vought appoints one of the cruelest supes in existence, Malchemical, as Super Duper's new leader. The malicious shapeshifter soon bursts the team's happy bubble, creating an environment of chaos, danger, and abuse that eventually requires the Boys' intervention. Super Duper's "The Innocents" storyline is one of the most memorable arcs in the series — and far too heartbreaking to ever make it in the show.

The show would have a hard time adapting The Innocents arc

Every superhero team in "The Boys" explores the dark side of superpowers from its own angle. While Super Duper's take on the subject might seem more lighthearted than the jaded ruthlessness of the Seven or the terrible secrets of the G-Men, the team's mundane existence as a collection of de facto outcasts is among the saddest "The Boys" has to offer in its own, unique way. 

"The Innocents" arc goes to great lengths to establish Super Duper as a team of very pleasant people who are content to do their own thing away from the limelight, with team elder Auntie Sis being the only member who's aware of the world's dangers and the group's true status in the grand scheme of things. In fact, they're so nice that Hughie Campbell — who has an excellent reason to dislike supes — befriends them during a reconnaissance mission. Even Billy Butcher ends up letting them be when he finally steps up to deal with Malchemical, which is saying something. 

This being "The Boys," of course, Super Duper's innocence is built up for one simple reason: so that the corrupt Malchemical can tear it all down. After finding his feet, the shape-shifting supe starts asserting himself in the Super Duper HQ and decides to start terrorizing the team, preying on their worst fears and bullying them to submission. Fortunately, Hughie steps in just before Malchemical becomes sexually abusive, but even then, Malchemical's actions — and the extreme beatdown he goes on to give poor Hughie — rank among the most vile in the entire series. 

There's no need to bring Super Duper in

There's little chance that "The Innocents" storyline will feature in the show, at least in the way it exists in the comics. For one, the comic book arc hinges on the chemistry between Billy Butcher and Hughie, whose live-action counterparts (played by Karl Urban and Jack Quaid) have a very different dynamic. What's more, adapting the story would force the show to bring in Malchemical, who's likely way too offensive to appear in live-action. There's also the fact that the show has already explored the "loss of innocence" theme in numerous ways — including the supe survivor support group in Season 1, Episode 6, which is actually titled "The Innocents."  

Apart from the fact that their comic book arc is essentially unadaptable, featuring Super Duper in any way would require the kind of tact the show has rarely displayed. While "The Boys" is famous for not pulling any punches, it tends to make a point of punching up. This would be difficult with Super Duper since their role in the comics consists of the cruel world falling down on them and shattering their sense of safety, possibly for good.  

In a way, it's sad that we're unlikely to ever see Super Duper in live-action. With the possible exception of Annie "Starlight" January (Erin Moriarty), they're far and away the most sympathetic superpowered characters in the franchise. Still, subjecting this happy yet underpowered team to the whims of the show's more powerful supes could easily be too much, and it probably shouldn't happen.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.