The Boys Compound V: From A Sinister Origin To Creating Gen V

By TeeJay Small | Published

The Boys

If you’ve spent any time watching the hit Amazon Prime Video series The Boys or the latest spin-off series Gen V, you’ve likely encountered Compound V, the mysterious alchemical serum that turns ordinary people into superheroes. The fictitious concoction’s origins are shrouded in mystery, serving as a major driving point for the plot of both shows and providing a number of real-world analogies for the military-industrial complex, soulless corporate entities, and the exploitation of labor by government-subsidized forces.

The Origins of Compound V In The Boys

The Boys

In The Boys, audiences first become exposed to the serum in Season 1, when the news breaks that Vought, the superhero corporation, has been manufacturing, selling, and dosing infants with the chemical compound in order to create superheroes. At this time in the series, the general public, as well as the viewers at home, had been laboring under the delusion that the supes were born with powers, with a marketing team of analysts specifically concocting fake backstories for their A-list heroes.

When the first episodes of The Boys‘ spinoff Gen V premiered just last week, it rapidly became clear that the series will focus on Compound V’s long-term effects and its latest and greatest applications. The serum was first developed by a Nazi geneticist, Frederick Vought, during the Second World War to create an army of super soldiers for the Axis powers. Vought, who was married to the first successful recipient of the serum, Stormfront, later defected to the United States as it became clear that the tides had turned within the war and that the Nazi powers were doomed to failure.

Though Compound V is a work of fiction within the series, its backstory draws on the true tales of Nazi scientists agreeing to join American projects after the war in exchange for pardons for their crimes, which saw massive advancements in science and technology for the country during the Cold War which followed. Once the corporate powers that be had taken control of the Vought corporation as seen in the timeline of The Boys, the serum was watered down and weakened in order to save on manufacturing costs, resulting in a weaker strain of supes such as Livewire, Lamplighter, and Termite.

The Boys Season 3 Introduced A New Version, V24

With this, The Boys comments on planned obsolescence, especially as supes created with the original Vought formula, such as Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy and Antony Starr’s Homelander, are shown to be so difficult to subdue. Season 3 of The Boys then introduces an even weaker version of Compound V, in the form of V24, or Temp V, which can be used like an adrenaline shot of temporary superhero powers.

Throughout the franchise, the many variations on Compound V are shown to be extremely dangerous, with even the world’s foremost experts on the serum failing to understand exactly why it behaves the way that it does.

Gen V shows the impact that the truth about Compound V has had on the young supes in the world of The Boys.

Temp V, for instance, is said to be fatal after a maximum dose of 3-5 uses, resulting in Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher receiving a presumably devastating diagnosis in the final minutes of The Boys‘ third season finale. Butcher had previously suped up with the help of Temp V in order to face off with his nemesis, Homelander, in a bloody battle that left behind a double-digit body count and a great deal of property damage.

Despite the compound existing for nearly a century within the context of the series, the long-term effects of V have yet to be intensely studied, leaving audiences to wonder just how the existence of the serum and the public’s newfound knowledge of it will contribute to the culture, political upheaval, and the future of warfare.

Luckily for fans of The Boys, this very question seems to be a mission statement for Gen V, assuring fans of the Amazon original franchise that answers will soon be on the way. Gen V is currently airing new episodes weekly on Fridays.