While Marvel and DC battle it out at the box office, one superhero series has been consistently subverting expectations for three seasons, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. The Boys, based on the Wildstorm comic book series of the same name, just concluded its third season on Amazon Prime and currently has a college-centered spin-off in the works originally called The Boys: Varsity, but now known as Gen V.
The Boys’ success can be largely credited due to its mature, and often graphic, look at the superhero genre through the eyes of some pretty powerful characters on the sides of both good and evil. A talented cast of actors and actresses — including Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Laz Alonso, and Erin Moriarty — bring comic book writer Garth Ennis’ infamous characters to life in every episode.
Even though some of the show’s characters are, at least visually, rip-offs of more popular superheroes like Wonder Woman and Aquaman, it’s the personalities and ambition of each individual that separate them from their better-known doppelgängers. From heroes who have turned into villains, and villains who have turned into heroes, and everyone in between, we’re ranking the best characters from The Boys based on their powers.
The Deep, played by Gossip Girl alum Chace Crawford, has always been a problematic member of The Seven, to say the least. From his assault on Starlight in season one to his morally questionable liaisons with sea mammals, he has always been more of a minor inconvenience than a hero or villain. Over the course of The Boys’ three seasons, The Deep remained duplicitous in his actions, typically only making decisions that benefit himself, though he always stayed loyal to Homelander out of fear for his life.
Like his DC counterpart Aquaman, The Deep is able to communicate with aquatic life, which is typically used for comedic relief throughout the show. He also has the ability to breathe underwater thanks to his gills, which he is very self-conscious about and something that Homelander never hesitates to use against him to keep him in check. The Deep possesses superstrength and heightened durability, which seems to be a baseline power that has been displayed by almost every character in The Boys who was exposed to Compound V.
Jessie T. Usher portrays A-Train in The Boys, The Seven’s resident speedster with an addiction problem. In fact, it’s while he is high on drugs that he accidentally kills Hughie’s girlfriend during a high-velocity impact in the show’s very first episode. He is depicted as someone who is determined to stay at the top of his game, no matter what the cost. Due to his careless lifestyle, he has almost died twice over the course of three seasons, largely due to the damage done to his heart between his powers and the drugs in his system.
Possessing a superhuman metabolism that provides him with various abilities, A-Train can not only run fast but also has a regenerative healing factor that allows him to recover from injuries much faster than the average person. He also has superhuman strength, durability, and stamina, which have been seen multiple times throughout the series. All of his abilities are on display during his albeit brief fight with Kimiko in what CBR says is one of the best episodes of The Boys: season 1, episode 4 titled “The Female of the Species.”
In season two of The Boys, Claudia Doumit joined the cast as ambitious congresswoman Victoria Neuman. From the start, she is an outspoken opponent of Vought’s, condemning the manipulative way they portray themselves in the media, though it’s eventually revealed that Victoria is in fact a Supe herself. Additionally, in season three, Victoria is shown to actually be the adoptive daughter of Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), who is operating on her own agenda by planning on becoming the next Vice President of the United States.
While Victoria possesses the same superstrength and durability as your average Sup, it’s her power of molecular combustion that makes her a serious threat. She has the ability to psychically influence the pressure and speed of molecules to the point of combustion. Thus far, she’s only used her ability on human beings, primarily to make heads explode, but she’s also demonstrated that she can combust a single extremity or an entire body using her mind. The only advantage her opponent has is that Victoria has to be able to see her target in order to use her powers on them.
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Every superhero team needs their stealthy ninja. The Seven’s just happens to be Black Noir. Despite the redundancy in his name, Black Noir (played by Nathan Mitchell), has proven to be one of the deadliest members of The Seven. On top of his already formidable powers, he trained with a master sensei to become one of the show’s most lethal fighters. A former member of Payback, the superhero team led by Soldier Boy, Black Noir has been shown as a dangerous assassin who is prone to bouts of sensitivity, especially when it comes to innocent lives.
Black Noir’s powers include superstrength, along with heightened speed and agility. Like A-Train and Kimiko, he possesses a regenerative healing factor, which has been shown multiple times throughout the course of The Boys. In addition to his healing factor, Black Noir also has a high tolerance for pain, however, it is unknown if this is part of his super-powered skill set or if he mastered pain suppression techniques while completing his martial arts training.
Played by Jessica Jones alum Erin Moriarty, Starlight joined The Seven in the very first episode of The Boys and sincerely wanted to be a superhero who helped others while saving the world. Unfortunately, the corrupt members of The Seven eventually broke her down and she sought refuge in the arms of Hughie (Jack Quaid). Her relationship with Hughie eventually led to her being a double agent for The Boys, working against the evil members of The Seven while also being a member of the team. Luckily, she was able to form a bond with Queen Maeve, and the two were able to work together on several occasions to be real heroes and take down some Big Bads, like Stormfront and Soldier Boy.
Visually, Starlight’s power set is very similar to the X-Men’s Dazzler, in that they are both able to draw on their surroundings in order to project light in a variety of ways. However, instead of drawing on sound like Dazzler, Starlight gets her power from absorbing the ambient electricity that surrounds her. This allows her to create concussive blasts, heat rays, or simply bolts of light out of thin air. She can make her eyes and hands glow on command and can even use her powers to levitate, as shown in the season three finale “The Instant White-Hot Wild.”
Not all warrior princesses are created equal. Queen Maeve, played by Dominique McElligott, is The Seven’s answer to Wonder Woman, except for the fact that she is plagued by relentless personal demons throughout the course of The Boys. Much like Starlight, Maeve was naive about joining The Seven and genuinely wanted to help make the world a better place, but her abusive relationship with Homelander, along with the demoralizing way Vought treated her as the token queer member of the team, left her jaded and with one nasty substance abuse problem. Fortunately, Starlight was eventually able to convince Maeve to become the hero they both believed she was and joined the side of The Boys in order to bring Homelander down.
Much like her DC counterpart, Queen Maeve possesses superhuman strength, durability, agility, speed, stamina, reflexes, and senses. Her introduction in the series involved her running along the side of buildings in order to step in front of an out-of-control armored car, which ran directly into her — though she wasn’t phased at all by the impact. Maeve is also a trained hand-to-hand combatant who is able to hold her own against Homelander in the season three finale, after finally embracing her own power as the hero she was born to be. She is also able to withstand Soldier Boy’s nuclear blast, though it leaves her powerless in the aftermath and free to live a life in seclusion with her girlfriend. Despite her departure, showrunner Eric Kripke told TVLine that Maeve will return before The Boys ends.
Originally introduced in the fourth episode of the first season of The Boys, Kimiko (aka The Female) was caged up like a feral animal when The Boys came across her, and little did they know exactly how deadly she could be. Played by Bullet Train cast member Karen Fukuhara, Kimiko quickly becomes the team’s muscle and their most formidable fighter. Though she starts out mute, she eventually finds a way to communicate with others using her own version of sign language. She becomes particularly attached to Frenchie (Tomer Capon), with things eventually becoming romantic between the two. Kimiko also forms tight friendships with Hughie and Starlight. Though she isn’t always a fan of her powers, she never hesitates to use them to protect the people she cares for.
Kimiko is the strongest hero of The Boys, with heightened levels of superhuman strength, durability, speed, and reflexes. She also possesses an accelerated healing factor that allows her to heal almost as fast as she’s injured. In fact, her healing ability has even brought her back from the dead multiple times throughout the series. Kimiko is also a master martial arts fighter, hardly ever needing the help of a weapon, as she basically is the weapon. She’s also a skilled markswoman and is able to play the piano.
In season two, The Boys introduces Stormfront (Aya Cash), who joins The Seven as Translucent’s replacement. While she originally starts out as a rival to Homelander, the two eventually become lovers, though he is unaware of her ultimate agenda. As a closeted Nazi, she used her new platform as a way to further the work of white supremacists and eventually fell from grace in the eyes of the public after her true nature was revealed. She was also proven to be the former hero Liberty, who was notorious for killing racial minorities while patrolling cities for the crime. In the season two finale, Stormfront takes a beating from Kimiko, Starlight, and Queen Maeve, but is able to escape. However, she is eventually severely wounded by Homelander’s son, Ryan, in an effort to save his mother. In season three, Stormfront, confined to a hospital bed and at the mercy of Homelander due to her injuries, takes her own life.
While she essentially only lasted as a season-long villain, Stormfront had multiple abilities that made her more than a formidable foe. Her main power was plasma and electrical manipulation, which she used in a variety of ways, including flight, telekinesis, and the ability to fire powerful plasma bolts. She also possessed superhuman strength, durability, and a healing factor that allowed her to live over 100 years without barely showing any signs of aging.
Homelander, played by Antony Starr, is the powerhouse leader of The Seven. He also happens to be a ruthless, narcissistic psychopath who is determined to be the world’s most popular superhero. Of course, this makes for an interesting mix and indeed Starr’s performance is one of the strongest ones in the series. He does an excellent job at making the audience, and The Boys, hate his character. In fact, Homelander is the reason Butcher (Karl Urban) formed The Boys, to begin with after Butcher’s wife went missing after being assaulted by Homelander. Butcher’s thirst for revenge is one of the major driving forces of the show, even though Homelander does plenty of other despicable things along the way — most notably leaving a plane full of civilians to crash into the ocean without lifting a finger to save a single one. He has no problem killing innocent people in order to preserve his image and requires total control of every member of The Seven at all times.
One of the most powerful characters on The Boys, Homelander has heightened levels of superstrength, durability, stamina, and senses. He also possesses heat vision that he can either choose to shoot with a laser focus or use as a concussive force from his eyes. Homelander is also believed to be the most genetically superior Supe, given both his extensive roster of abilities coupled with him being the only superhuman able to have a child who inherits superpowers. Once thought of as an unstoppable villain, the season three finale showed that The Boys, with the help of Queen Maeve and Soldier Boy, were almost able to put a stop to him once and for all.
Officially introduced at the beginning of the third season of The Boys, Soldier Boy (played by Supernatural alum Jensen Ackles) was the powerful leader of a previously popular Vought superhero team called Payback. Much like Chris Evans’ Captain America, he was cryogenically frozen for decades, so he’s very much a fish out of water during season three. While The Boys originally thought they could use the same weapon that was used on Soldier Boy to get rid of Homelander, they eventually found out that Soldier Boy would actually be their weapon. He’s got a score to settle with his old teammates who betrayed him, and Butcher was only too happy to leverage The Boys’ help for Soldier Boys’ help in turn to kill Homelander. This partnership works for much of the season but starts to fall apart once Soldier Boy learns that he’s actually Homelander’s biological father, additionally making him Ryan’s grandfather.
While Soldier Boy and Homelander share many abilities, the one advantage he had over Homelander was that Soldier Boy was able to generate radiation from his body, releasing a blast so powerful it could disintegrate bodies and crumble buildings. It was The Boys’ hope that this blast would be enough to either kill Homelander or weaken him enough that he could be killed by normal means. Ironically, Homelander and Butcher found themselves briefly fighting side-by-side against Soldier Boy, once he took aim at Ryan. In the end, it was Queen Maeve who made the sacrifice to save everyone and help put Soldier Boy back on ice.