The Boys’ Ending Shows Why There’ll Never Be Another Homelander
Warning: contains spoilers for The Boys comic series!By the ending of The Boys, Billy Butcher’s team of CIA-backed anti-Supe operatives have successfully dismantled every major superteam and overseen the deaths of Homelander, Black Noir, Stormfront, and most other big-name Supes. However, in a world where Compound V is already out in the wild and causing normal people to manifest superpowers, is the Boys’ mission really done, or will another would-be super-dictator come along soon? Surprisingly for such a cynical series, The Boys actually goes out of its way to reassure fans the world truly has changed for good.
While the Boys do a lot of good over the series, it ends with only one member left alive. Butcher executes his team as part of a plan to kill everyone on Earth with any trace of Compound V in their system, only stopped from committing genocide by Hughie, whose moral center wins out over Butcher’s brutal ideology. Hughie takes over Butcher’s role of keeping watch on the remaining Supes, but fans see that Vought’s corporate psychopath James Stillwell is already planning a relaunch, despite knowing deep down that superheroes are « bad product. »
Set twelve years later, Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, Tony Avina, and Simon Bowland’s The Boys: Dear Becky sees Hughie on one last adventure, investigating the source of a mysterious journal detailing the earliest days of the Boys. As part of the story, fans get to see a world where ‘superheroes’ no longer exist, and the world has returned to normal, complete with COVID and Brexit. Hughie notes that while the final battle against Homelander’s Supe uprising destroyed the public’s faith in the idea of superhuman protectors, there are still those who wish for their return. When Annie asks if there’s any chance they’ll succeed, Hughie reveals that the CIA subtly destabilizes such groups by sowing confusion and dissent among them, and that the Boys’ job is now done almost exclusively online.
Hughie tells Annie about a group calling themselves the Stormfronters (after the Nazi Supe Stormfront), who killed each other after the CIA’s new system turned them on each other. Hughie confirms that while Compound V is still creating new Supes, the powers that be are incredibly hostile to anything even relating to superheroes, and the CIA ensures that no-one who disagrees can get organized enough to push back. The Boys’ very public battle against Homelander’s uprising firmly turned the tide of public opinion against Supes, as well as creating enough of a blank slate that the CIA could step in and prevent the same system from reoccurring.
Butcher’s final plan to commit genocide was always painted as a horrific and unjustifiable reaction to what he saw as the cancer of superhuman supremacy, but The Boys: Dear Becky also confirms it was unnecessary for his goal. The story makes the point that in not truly adding anything of value to the world, the superheroes have no foothold to make a comeback, and its typically grim vision of American politics shows that with Homelander off the board, the existing power structure is more than capable of suppressing what it now views as a threat to its own legitimacy.
From beginning to end, The Boys doesn’t have much faith in humanity as a whole, instead focusing on the value and beauty of individual relationships. However, it does conclude that the concept of superheroes, especially as exemplified by Homelander, is a bad idea that can’t survive after people see through the lies propping it up – as close to a happy ending as The Boys was ever likely to get.
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