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Why The Boys Fans Think This Is Homelander's Kryptonite

Even though the common denominator between most mainstream superheroes is that they're physically superior to the average human, that doesn't make all of them invincible. Nearly every hero from Marvel, DC, and every other major comic book publisher has some kind of weakness that hampers their powers. For Superman, it's something physical: pieces of his home planet Krypton; while for someone like Hulk, it's more abstract: his inability to control his impulses. This conversation gets a bit more convoluted when venturing into the recently adapted dark, twisted universe of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's The Boys.

The Amazon series of the same name is making waves in pop culture of late, most notably for its subverted depiction of superheroes through its principal faction, The Seven. Unlike the Justice League, which The Seven clearly satirizes, every member of the group uses their abilities for nefarious, corporate-backed purposes instead of for the greater good. Most of them have an Achilles heel of some kind, except for their psychopathic leader, Homelander (Antony Starr). Homelander is the very definition of the word unstoppable. He's extremely durable, impervious to pain, and locked and loaded with the full superpower suite, making him the most dangerous of the bunch, bar none.

Despite Vought's claims that Homelander knows no Earthly weakness, fans of The Boys believe that the pharmaceutical corporation of note doth protest too much. Many viewers remain unconvinced that Homelander is as all-powerful as he proclaims. Nothing Kryptonite-like might exist to bring him down, but perhaps there's something less tangible that could facilitate his eventual defeat.

Homelander's vanity will be his downfall

In a recent Reddit thread, The Boys viewers debated whether or not Homelander's rival, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), would someday come prepared for battle with some kind of Kryptonite equivalent. According to user rockjar, such a MacGuffin is not only unnecessary but actually redundant, since Butcher knows Homelander's true weakness is his lust for power and admiration from the masses. Basically, the most powerful being on Earth is fatally insecure.

They wrote, "[H]e's emotionally crippled and desperate for the love of 'the people' in general and connections with specific people in particular that he can't forge on his own." Their comment goes on to recognize his over-reliance on the likes of Vought, Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue), and Becca Butcher (Shantel VanSanten), and how Homelander's emotional shortcomings make "for really interesting stand-offs."

u/rockjar continued their analysis by breaking down how The Boys focuses on the themes of relative power and weakness, and how physical strength can be undercut by other competencies. Despite his unmatched abilities, Homelander can't wrap his head around this concept. "Homelander is someone with all of the physical power in the world, who is still completely impotent to use it to get what he wants."

The comment also gave Butcher plenty of credit for his mental manipulation of Homelander that helps him gain an edge in their terribly imbalanced confrontations. "He's managed to win (or turn losses into wins) by negating Homelander's powers through essentially emotional blackmail," u/rockjar said, underscoring the central thesis of the post that The Seven's poster boy doesn't need a physical weakness to fail; his opponents just need to recognize his vanity as his true Kryptonite, and exploit it from there.