It’s impossible not to compare Gen V, The Boys spin-off about a college for superheroes, with the X-Men, a franchise that is often about superheroes operating out of a school for mutants. Given the last few years of the X-Men’s run in comics, that no longer applies, but Fox’s X-Men movies, from the first up through Dark Phoenix, included the school setting. Thanks to the freedom offered by being a streaming series and not a two-hour movie, it’s Gen V that finally does the superpowered school right.
Gen V’s Godolkin University
Godolkin University in Gen V may not have the purest of intentions since it is a feeder for Vought International, class rank takes social media following into account, and there’s that small issue with “The Woods” lurking underground. Get past all of that, though, and what we find is an actual school with class schedules, teacher’s assistants, different degree paths, and even support for post-grad careers. Sure, it’s an evil school, but so is Duke.
Gen V shows the cast, particularly Marie (Jaz Sinclair) and Jordan (Derek Liu and London Thor), attending regular classes between Vought trotting them out for fundraisers and televised interviews. Episode 4 even has a guest speaker coming in, Tek Knight (Derek Wilson), and again, this still has evil ulterior motives, but is it really any different from the English teacher rolling in the AV cart and putting on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo and Juliet?
It’s not, and Tek Knight is at least an expert in his field, demonstrating a relevant skill that still puts Godolkin University above Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters
Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy) has the best of intentions when he establishes Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters: he needs a front for his militarized organization of teenagers with the power to destroy cities.
It’s rare that Xavier is shown teaching a class and not spending time in his own hidden underground research area with ominous lighting. But it’s not hosting a para-military strike force or clandestine research that makes Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters not only worse than Gen V’s Godolkin University, but it’s the worst school in comics.
Whenever the X-Men movies show the students of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, it’s overwhelming, and there are dozens of them, maybe even a hundred or more, of all ages. We also notice that there is no way Charles Xavier is following the legal guidelines regarding a faculty-to-student ratio.
At any one time, there are maybe half a dozen X-men, some of whom are also students, which means four or five adults need to supervise a hundred students.
Gen V shows multiple faculty members and support staff at Godolkin University, while the X-Men movies have Xavier and Storm (Halle Berry’s older version). Storm is a lot of things: a thief, a Goddess, and an Omega-level mutant, but she’s not an accredited educator. As a private school, Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters takes advantage of every legal loophole to avoid oversight, which is the only way to possibly explain how it’s okay for Ororo Munroe to be teaching second graders.
Gen V is about an evil school for superheroes, but unlike the X-Men, it’s accredited.
Superhero movies aimed at younger kids have shown excellent schools before, particularly Sky High, but Gen V is the first time that an adult-oriented franchise shows us what they would be like. The X-Men movies have consistently failed to do this, mostly because of the nature of the movies which are overstuffed as it is, but why can’t Disney make a streaming series out of Generation X in a few years? Take a cue from Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, which made Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters feel like a school for the very first time.
For now, The Boys’ story arc that inspired Gen V may have been a parody of the X-Men and Professor X, but with the new series on Amazon, it’s the parody that’s doing a better job. While it would be great if Disney introduced the X-Men to the MCU already on Krakoa, we all know that’s not going to happen. Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters will be back as legal cover for an illegal vigilante operation. But this time, maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see it function as a real school for once.