Eric Kripke’s adaptation of Garth Ennis’ graphic novel The Boys for Amazon Studios has widely become one of the best TV shows in recent times. Though the show has departed from the original source in many ways, it has still managed to stay faithful when it comes to gratuitous violence and grim tone. The show has also received widespread acclaim for its choice of actors, especially for Antony Starr as Homelander.
The subversive nature of The Boys has been its strongest point in becoming one of the most-watched shows in recent times. Set in the grim world of Garth Ennis, The Boys sets its tone right from the beginning. In a world where superheroes are commoditized and not answerable to the law, Antony Starr’s Homelander shines as the Elseworlds version of an evil Superman devoid of any morals.
In The Boys, the Seven is created as a parody of DC’s Justice League. While most of the members have powers akin to their DC counterparts, they are not even close to what the DC heroes have accomplished. However, Homelander is a whole different game, at least in the show. Though the unhinged homicidal maniac is far from his Kryptonian counterpart when it comes to power levels, he is still the most powerful supe in The Boys.
In the first season of The Boys, Madelyn Stillwell, one of the top-ranking executives at Vought International had confirmed that every kind of weapon was used to test Homelander’s durability, proving that he is the most powerful superhero in the show. Apart from being an indestructible supe, what makes Homelander frightening is his unhinged personality.
As the show has progressed, almost every supe’s weakness has been exploited by the Boys to take them down. While A-Train is super fast, a well-coordinated attack by Hughie and Kimiko left him utterly powerless. Similarly, Black Noir’s lethal allergy towards almonds almost left him for dead by anaphylactic shock when Queen Maeve protected Starlight from the masked assassin. Though Homelander is quite invincible when it comes to physical attacks, the show might have finally revealed his Kryptonite in ‘What I Know‘, the second season finale of The Boys.
Earlier in the first season, Homelander was shown to have unfettered feelings for Madelyn Stillwell in what seemed like to be a strong case for Oedipal Complex. However, when Billy Butcher tried to leverage his attraction, Homelander promptly killed Madelyn Stillwell in a gruesome manner. So, what exactly is his weakness?
In ‘What I Know‘, Homelander and Stormfront were ambushed by the Boys in an attempt to rescue Ryan. While Stormfront was viciously attacked by the trio of Queen Maeve, Starlight, and Kimiko, Homelander quickly took down a taskforce with his laser eyes. Ryan’s outburst of powers to protect Becca left Stormfront on the verge of death in a strangely similar manner to Anakin Skywalker after his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. With Stormfront gone, Homelander entered into a fury of rage when his biological son sides with his archenemy Billy Butcher. But the tide quickly turned into Billy’s favor with the arrival of Queen Maeve.
Though Queen Maeve is incredibly strong, she is still no match for Homelander. However, after staying with Homelander for years in a relationship and as a member of the Seven, Maeve revealed Homelander’s real Kryptonite to keep him in check.
Deep down, Homelander is a twisted psychopath with no morals. But, one thing he truly cares about is his public image. Usually unrestrained, he had shown great restraint in the second season when hundreds of people had come out to protest against his killing of an innocent boy while stopping a super-terrorist. He was visibly upset when his popularity ratings took a dip after the incident when he lashed out and then lost control over his emotions in a secluded location.
In the first season, Homelander and Queen Maeve were tasked with rescuing an airplane filled with passengers. Homelander’s casual recklessness damaged the airplane’s controls and instead of devising another plan, he just took off with Queen Maeve leaving hundreds of passengers to their fate. Using the Deep’s help, Maeve salvaged a recording where Homelander had threatened the passengers when they wanted to help them.
Using the video evidence, Maeve put a lease on Homelander and asked him to spare the lives of Ryan and Butcher. He was also coerced to welcome back Starlight to the Seven after his previous announcement where he had declared her as a traitor. His real weakness might not be a radioactive rock, but he can sure be strong-armed and put in check when it comes to his popularity ratings and the attention he so dearly craves from millions of people.