The Boys are nearly back in town, and with them comes the same diabolical levels of violence, in-fighting, and malevolent superhero antics that made the first season of the Amazon show so memorable. With the second season due to begin next month, the first reviews for The Boys' return are now in, and all-in-all it sounds like a very worthy comeback.

IGN were ecstatic to once again see the show relish in the ridiculous kinds of action sequences that made the show's first season so enjoyable but were even more happy that the show has begun to home in on deeper characterization.

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"Showrunner Eric Kripke (Supernatural) kicks off Season 2 with even more of the irreverent, gratuitous, and stylized drama that made us all fall in love with Season 1. And while the over-the-top action is a joy to behold, like The Boys ramming a high-speed boat through the belly of a whale, Kripke never forgets to take time to develop his characters. Where Season 1 focused a bit more on the profound effect superheroes have on ordinary people, Season 2 begins by lasering in on how having superpowers affects you as a person."

The review over at Decider praised the show for pushing the boundaries even further this time around, as well as managing to balance the tonal shifts just right.

"If you enjoyed the first season of The Boys, you're going to love Season 2. The new batch of episodes avoid the pitfalls of a traditional sophomore slump by simply enhancing the most compelling aspects of the first season. . . . Nothing is off limits when it comes to Amazon's chaotic superhero series. Season 2 tackles timely issues like race and political corruption while also offering snippets of levity (a road trip singalong to a Billy Joel classic is one of the most adorable moments of the season) without giving viewers tonal whiplash. The new season also skewers both Scientology and celebrity marketing culture with entertaining subplots that seamlessly support the main story. Plus, if you thought the sex scene between Popclaw and her landlord was crazy, well, just wait, friend. Just. Wait."

Collider's review also heaped praise on The Boys second season's exploration of humanity in a slightly more profound way this time.

"In continuing to explore the history of this oddball world of the superpowered, new elements do push beyond 'being famous is bad for you.' It's tough to write about this in a spoiler-free context, but what can be said is that while these new episodes are no more subtle than the first season, they do push harder into examining issues beyond how superhuman abilities might warp vulnerable spirits; there's a deeper sense of humanity as a whole on display here."

Den of Geek found the second season of the The Boys to even be something of an improvement to the extent that it could even win over those who perhaps were not enamored with the show's debut.

"In essence, The Boys Season 2 explores the horrible power of abusive relationships, not only with Homelander as a father, but also between Billy and Hughie, in the backstory of Kimiko, and in some ways even within Vaught's own history of exploitation, which takes on new depth this year. Fortunately, it's not simply a case of the new season pleasing established fans of the show, which it certainly will; it may also win over those who were on the fence after finding few characters to like in Season 1."

On the slightly more negative side, the review at Observer, which wasn't a wholly negative outlook by any means, found a lack of growth in the central characters frustrating, concluding that The Boys is perhaps not as clever a creation as it thinks it is.

"Nothing changes in this world and the same holds true for our characters. They continue to make the same mistakes over and over and not in the same way that Tony Soprano's cyclical behavior became the backbone of a series and a valuable piece of commentary in its own right. In a very literal reading, Karl Urban's swaggering Billy Butcher fails to deliver on his promises every single time across both seasons. Yet the plot demands that he still wheel and deal with various powerful factions and shadowy figures who trust him despite his abysmal track record. It's less character development and more plot mechanics papered over with side-eyed emotion. . . . Highly entertaining but grossly flawed, _The Boys _envisions itself as the bad boy of superhero stories. To a degree, it is. But let's not act as if it's the long-awaited mash-up of Shakespeare and Stan Lee."

While there will no doubt be some dissenters who are left unimpressed by The Boys particular brand of antics, overall, the second season sounds like an excellent follow-up that not only builds on what came before, but in some cases even develops and improves it.

Coming courtesy of Amazon Prime, The Boys is based on the comic book of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The series is set in a universe where superpowered individuals are recognized as heroes by the general public and owned by powerful corporation Vought International, which markets and monetizes them. Outside of their heroic personas, most are arrogant and corrupt. The series primarily focuses on two groups: The Seven, Vought International's premier superhero team, and the titular Boys, vigilantes looking to keep the corrupted heroes under control.

Thanks to the chaos of the first season, The Boys are now fugitives and their leader, Billy Butcher, is nowhere to be found. "It's a bit of a mystery," says Urban, on Billy's whereabouts. "The Boys are on the back foot and spend a lot of their time trying to make an impact and get traction for taking down the Supes. Just because they're wanted and in hiding doesn't mean they're gonna stop doing what they do. So, the objective is still fundamentally the same."

Season 2 is set to introduce several new characters alongside Esposito's Mr. Edgar, including Aya Cash's rival superhero Stormfront, X-Men alumni Shawn Ashmore's troublesome retired super, Lamplighter, and Supernatural's Jensen Ackles as ex-member of The Seven, Soldier Boy. The Boys stars Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, Jack Quaid as Hughie, Laz Alonso as Mother's Milk, Tomer Kapon as Frenchie, Karen Fukuhara as the Female, Erin Moriarty as Annie January, and Chace Crawford as the Deep.

The Boys season 2 will premiere on Prime Video with the first three episodes on Friday, September 4, and new episodes available each Friday following, culminating in an epic season finale on October 9. The show has already been renewed for a third season.

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Jon Fuge at TVweb
Jon Fuge