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The Dark History Of Homelander

Fans of Amazon Prime's "The Boys" know that the Homelander is no hero. He might possess the powers of Superman packaged in Captain America-esque patriotism, but don't let that deceptive smile fool you. Homelander is sadistic and sociopathic, with no regard for human life and a chip on his shoulder stronger than Kryptonite. Think Clark Kent, but with no empathy, an unmatched superiority complex, and temper tantrums to rival a toddler.

The comics spare no sordid detail when it comes to Homelander. The flag-wearing superhero appears front and center in some of the darkest moments in the series (which doesn't exactly shy away from graphic and disturbing scenes itself.) He has committed unforgivable acts with barely a second thought and without a drop of remorse. The Amazon Prime series pulls no punches when it comes to Homelander – but even then, there are aspects from the comics that have already proven too messed up for the small-screen.

Garth Enis, the creator of "The Boys," established a pitch-black tone for his superheroes that has translated well for the TV series. Amidst a cast of corrupted superheroes is Homelander, the worst of the worst. Here are the key moments in his dark history — alongside a warning that the details below may potentially spoil future plot points in the show, depending on how faithful the series remains to its source.

Chained to a bomb

Homelander didn't have Superman's rosy childhood in Kansas with Johnathan and Martha Kent. Born amidst blood and fire, his origins differ drastically from the story the rest of the world believes. Vought-American presents Homelander as another Superman type: He's an alien who crash landed on Earth as a baby, before growing up to become the planet's benevolent protector.

The truth is darker. In "The Boys" #19, Hughie learns from a character called The Legend, who owns a comic book company and knows all there is about the Supes, that Homelander is Vought's creation. Raised in a lab without parents, Homelander was treated as a test subject growing up. His mother was a mentally ill woman who Vought impregnated and injected with Compound V whilst Homelander was in utero. During his birth, the superpowered baby killed everyone present with his laser eyes, mirroring the bloody birth of Rebecca Butcher's baby.

If that wasn't bad enough, Homelander spent much of his childhood trapped underground in a silo and chained to a nuclear bomb to curb any temper tantrums. The future superhero, shown no love or affection by the people who raised him, naturally grew into an emotionally stunted individual with little empathy or understanding of his peers. Little wonder, considering his terrible upbringing.

Blackmailing Starlight

In the Amazon Prime series, Erin Moriarty's Starlight (aka Annie January) is sexually manipulated by the Deep (Chace Crawford), who convinces her that his actions are a condition of membership in The Seven. In the comics, more members of The Seven are culpable. "The Boys" #3 begins with Homelander showing Starlight around The Seven's tower and congratulating her on her success. The situation seems innocuous enough; then the flag-wearing Supe tells Starlight that, as part of her "initiation" to the Seven, she must perform a sexual act on him, Black Noir and A-Train.

Homelander's depravity knows no depths. On top of this, his ability to manipulate other people, who perceive him differently due to his public image, leads to a horribly traumatic experience for Starlight. While the Deep pays with his public image in the show, Homelander faces no consequences for his actions in the comics.

Starlight's ordeal doesn't end there. The Seven relishes every opportunity to humiliate her afterwards, particularly Black Noir and A-Train, who forces himself on the heroine in #22 — only for Starlight to blind him with her powers. In "The Boys" #33, Starlight is asked to wear a third, even more revealing outfit than her updated leotard costume. She refuses. Black Noir and A-Train attempt to force her, but Queen Maeve steps in to save the day.

Tricking Queen Maeve

Starlight isn't the only colleague who Homelander has taken advantage of. "The Boys" #58 reveals the sordid history between Homelander and Queen Maeve. Hughie gets his hands on a series of transcripts and photographs that explain one of Homelander's worst acts — as well as dropping a subtle clue regarding the connection between Homelander and Black Noir. While they were in a relationship, Homelander tricked Queen Maeve into sleeping with Black Noir (Maeve believed she was with Homelander), before leaking photographs of the two to further humiliate the Empress of the Netherworld.

An enraged Maeve confronts him. Homelander is unfazed. He feels no remorse for hurting Maeve, and even physically attacks her when Maeve strikes him out of anger. Maeve breaks up with him — who can blame her? — but the experience leaves her traumatized, leading to life-long alcoholism and an even more jaded outlook.

This isn't the end of Homelander and Queen Maeve's toxic relationship, either. In "The Boys" #63, Maeve finally has enough and stands up to Homelander when he confronts her and Starlight. Maeve throws Starlight to safety and attacks Homelander. Unfortunately, her sword proves useless against Homelander's invulnerable skin, and the sadistic Supe kills her. Could this foreshadow Maeve's fate in the TV series? Let's hope not.

Tricking Soldier Boy

Season 3 of Amazon Prime's "The Boys" will introduce another well-known Supe from the comics: Soldier Boy. Soldier Boy was mentioned briefly in Season 2 by Stan Edgar. In Season 3, Jensen Ackles will play the character, a World War II hero who shares similarities with Captain America. Ackles has reunited with his "Supernatural" colleague, Eric Kripke, to craft an updated version of the character for the TV series.

In the comics, Soldier Boy is the leader of Payback, another team of superheroes. Despite this, the gullible hero wants nothing more than to join The Seven. The miniseries "The Boys: Herogasm," set between #30 and #31 in the main continuity, features all of the superpowered characters coming together for a weekend of debauchery at Herogasm, a sordid, secluded festival on a secret island for Supes. Issue #1 sees Homelander tricking Soldier Boy into sleeping with him as a "test" to join The Seven. Homelander informs Soldier Boy that he has "failed" again, suggesting that this manipulation is an annual occurrence. 

Kripke has stated that this scene from the comics won't be adapted for the TV series. During a Q and A session on Twitter, he confirmed: "There isn't going to be Soldier Boy/Homelander sex scene," reaffirming that the Soldier Boy fans will see in season 3 is dissimilar from his bumbling depiction in the comics. However, Kripke did confirm that a version of Herogasm will feature in Season 3, stating: "You've earned it, you deserved it, and you're gonna get it."

Botching the plane rescue

In both mediums of "The Boys," the attempted rescue of a hijacked plane results in high casualties as the superheroes fail to save the passengers. In the show, Homelander and Queen Maeve are sent to help by Madelyn Stilwell. The mission is a disaster. Homelander burns the plane's controls with his laser eyes. Despite Maeve's pleading, Homelander insists that he can't carry the plane, or fly individual passengers to safety. Homelander and Queen Maeve fly away, leaving everyone else to die.

The plane rescue is a bigger botched attempt in the comics. The Legend recounts the story to Hughie in #21. Instead of Homelander and Maeve, all of The Seven are sent to save the passengers. Black Noir falls from the sky whilst the Deep (who can fly in the comics) collides with the plane. Homelander and Queen Maeve make it onto the plane, but Deep breaks the plane's windshield, sending the aircraft spiraling. The passengers are unable to hear a word they're saying. Homelander and Maeve turn on each other, proclaiming to the other: "I thought you had a plan!"

In the end, Homelander cuts his losses and ditches the plane, striking Maeve on his way out. Mister Marathon, a member of The Seven in the comics, clings to him to survive. Queen Maeve stalls, but eventually flies out of the plane, realizing the passengers are doomed. In a last-ditch attempt to divert the falling plane, Homelander flies through it: Mister Marathon dies, and the plane crashes into the Brooklyn Bridge.

Meet the Mullers

Season 1 of "The Boys" features another event that goes down a little differently in the comics. The Amazon Prime series sees Homelander and Starlight willingly attend the Believe Expo, where they both deliver rousing (though very different) speeches that anger Madelyn Stilwell and the staff at Vought. Homelander comes across as terrifying, especially during his tense baptismal/near-drowning moment with Hughie. Generally, though, his behavior is tame. Compared to the comics, it's downright saintly.

"The Boys" #47 features the Believe Expo, which Homelander and Starlight are forced to attend against their wishes by Vought-American. Starlight, traumatized from her treatment by The Seven and struggling with her faith, insists her attendance is inappropriate. Meanwhile, Homelander straight up shows no interest in playing the company's mascot, growing increasingly disenfranchised with Vought-American. Vought gets its way — but an innocent family pays the price.

At the Believe Expo, the Mullers win a competition to spend time with Homelander, and the hero flies away with the cheering family in their car. The cheers quickly die down, however, as Homelander continues to carry them into the clouds. The Mullers beg him to return them safely to the ground. In response, Homelander drops them to their death, declaring: "I am the only man in the sky." This dark moment shows Homelander's true colors — in his eyes, he is a god.

Homelander starts to unravel

The comics feature a slow descent into madness for Homelander. Unable to remember fragments of his life, Homelander's mind starts to play tricks on him (and it's all the work of a certain character — but we'll get to that.) "The Boys" #49 chronicles a dark turning point for Homelander, as the "hero" has a crazed conversation with his reflection in the mirror. The Boys see everything thanks to a bugging device planted in Vought Tower by Queen Maeve. Even they are unnerved.

The comic opens with Homelander telling his reflection: "People are toys. They're toys and they're there for my amusement, and there's not a thing more to them than that." Hallucinating, he hears his reflection reply. It's not convinced by Homelander's insistence; it suggests Homelander is overcompensating by countering with: "Would a demigod beyond the pathetic morality of man really feel the need to declare it to a mirror?"

Homelander's episode exhibits his inner turmoil when it comes to getting the fatherly attention he wants from James Stilwell, a character that was gender-swapped for the Amazon Prime series. This leads to him turning on Vought, rejecting "the money" that he defends in "The Boys" #4 during an incident with A-Train. Will fans see a similar fate for his character in the show? If the foreboding zoom-in on Antony Starr's eyes in the Season 2 finale are anything to go by, it's possible.

Killing the Vice President

Homelander's growing estrangement from Vought results in slaughter when the Supe decides it's time to take over the world. Uniting what superheroes he can, Homelander leads a coup on the White House in "The Boys" #65. Billy Butcher arrives in time to confront the deranged Supe ... only to find Homelander waiting for him, holding the Vice President's severed head.

Homelander's unpredictability generally makes him a wildcard. His coup against Vought, however, is arguably the most methodical thing he does in the comics. Initially, Homelander represents the company with little regard. He's despicable, but controllable. By #65 though, there is no way to restrain him. Homelander believes he is superior to everyone else on Earth, and as such, should be the planet's unquestioned ruler.

Killing the Vice President is a drop in the ocean when it comes to Homelander's depravity. He casually tells Butcher: "Look at that, he did have brains after all." Then he tosses the severed body part to Butcher as the two enemies finally face off.

Black Noir frames Homelander

It is difficult to imagine a more despicable version of Homelander than his Amazon Prime counterpart. So far, fans have seen him leave a plane full of people to die, deafened Blindshot during his audition for The Seven, dated a Nazi, assaulted Becca Butcher, attacked Starlight, threatened Queen Maeve, killed countless of people without remorse, etc... the list goes on.

This pales in comparison to Homelander's character in the comics. During "The Boys" #40, photographs of the flag-wearing hero emerge ... and they're so bad, they make the Homelander from the Amazon Prime series look like a teddy bear. Murder, torture, cannibalism. It gets worse, but we'll leave it there for the sake of your stomach.

These photographs come back to haunt Homelander — literally. In "The Boys " #46, he recalls receiving copies of them in the mail, though not remembering taking them or doing any of the repulsive things shown. Eventually, Billy Butcher releases the photographs to the public. Homelander's downward spiral continues until a devastating truth is revealed in #65 — a la Agatha Harkness, it was Black Noir all along!

Who attacked Rebecca Butcher?

Throughout "The Boys," Billy Butcher has one motivation: to avenge his wife, Becca. The show follows the blueprint from the comics fairly accurately. Billy and Becca (or Becky, in the comics) have a happy marriage. She tempers his worst instincts and helps him become a better person. Everything goes awry, however, when she encounters Homelander. The supposed hero sexually assaults Becca; struggling with trauma, Becca grows distant from her husband.

The Season 1 finale of the Amazon Prime series reveals that Becca is actually alive, contained in a top-secret Vought facility where she is raising her son with Homelander, Ryan. In the comics, Becca meets a bloodier end. Vogelbaum's story to Homelander rings true: Becca does die during childbirth in the comics when the superpowered baby tears its way out of her womb. Billy Butcher is left to deal with the aftermath.

Another big reveal shocks Billy and Homelander in "The Boys" #65. You might have guessed it; Black Noir is the real culprit. Dressed as Homelander, Black Noir assaults Becca to further frame the flag-wearing hero for heinous acts, slowly driving Homelander off the deep end as he struggles to recall committing the horrific crimes. Homelander may be disgraceful, but Black Noir is the true danger when it comes to The Seven.

Vought's contingency plan

"The Boys" #65 also drops another devastating reveal on Homelander: Black Noir is his clone. Mother's Milk informs Hughie via phone call that when Homelander burned several doctors (and presumably his mother) during childbirth with his laser eyes, Vought-American saw the devastating potential of his powers. They soon realized they needed more than a nuclear bomb to restrain him. So, as a contingency plan, they created Black Noir.

Vought added Black Noir to The Seven, telling Homelander he was a sidekick and nothing more. Queen Maeve and the Deep joined afterwards, and Homelander never questioned a thing. As M.M explains: "The Homelander's happy, 'cause he's in charge." Meanwhile, waiting in the wings is Black Noir, ready to fulfill his purpose at the first word from Vought.

The truth is revealed when Black Noir confronts Homelander and Billy Butcher at the White House. The deranged clone admits that he was the one who assaulted Becca and framed Homelander, in a bid to drive him over the edge so Black Noir can finally do what he was created for: kill the Homelander.

Black Noir kills Homelander

Everything collides with a bloody fight between Black Noir and Homelander. Homelander unleashes his laser eyes in a blast of rage, having realized the truth. His fall from grace has been orchestrated perfectly, and there's nothing left to do but destroy the person to blame. Black Noir, however, isn't an easy beat. With one punch, he removes Homelander's jaw before killing the other Supe. Ouch.

Billy Butcher makes it out of the White House, joining Hughie and the Army at the gates. Black Noir emerges from the fire, somehow alive despite his battered condition. In the end, Billy gets the revenge he's been searching for when he kills Black Noir.

It is unclear if the Amazon Prime series will feature a similar end for Homelander. Maeve partially removes Black Noir's mask in season 2 to incapacitate him with almonds, and we know that he isn't a clone of Homelander like his comic counterpart. 

Will Black Noir still have a hand in Homelander's downfall? Or will it be Homelander's son Ryan, whose laser eyes practically incinerated Stormfront in the Season 2 finale? Fans will have to wait to find out. Season 3 of "The Boys" is currently in production, and is speculated to stream on Amazon Prime in 2022.