The Boys: 10 Biggest Differences From The Comics



The Boys: 10 Biggest Differences From The Comics

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
If you only watched the show, you may be surprised by these things The Boys changed from the comics.
There are some insane differences between this satirical superhero show and its wild source material. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 things “The Boys” changed from the comics.

For this list, we’re looking at the biggest changes made to the plot and characters of “The Boys” when it was adapted to the screen. Since we’ll be talking about major and sometimes gruesome plot points, a spoiler alert and mature content warning is in effect for both the comic and show.

#10: Hughie Tangoes with the Seven Right Away

Hughie knew the Seven as an untouchable team of superheroes. But when his girlfriend is carelessly killed by the hero A-Train, Hughie teams up with Billy Butcher and the Boys to take the heroes down. In the comics, Hughie helps dismantle less notable superhero teams before confronting the Seven. This gives him time to become a competent spy and legitimate threat. He has much less time to hone his espionage skills on the show. Within a few days of meeting Butcher, Hughie’s sent to bug the Seven’s headquarters. During the mission, Hughie’s cover is blown, and he’s nearly killed by Translucent. Perhaps he should’ve taken a cue from his comic counterpart and gained experience before taking on the world’s most powerful heroes.

#9: Butcher’s Team Isn’t Part of the CIA

In the first episode, Butcher introduces himself as an FBI agent. Although Hughie questions Butcher’s credentials, he still follows his new companion’s lead. But after the duo knocks Translucent unconscious, Butcher confesses that he’s not with the FBI. His lies are a hilarious twist on the comics. On the page, Butcher and the boys are licensed and funded by the CIA. Their government connection gives them access to passports, jets and a decent headquarters. The Boys have so much pull that they even get away with killing heroes on a public street. It’s a miracle that their live-action counterparts can keep up with superheroes with only a handful of connections and nearly empty pockets.

#8: Almost Everything About Hughie

If you picked up a “Boys” comic, you’d see that Hughie’s a dead ringer for the fantastic Simon Pegg. This version of the character is Scottish, sports a buzzcut and is shorter than his allies. The show’s take on Hughie is tall, American and has a full head of hair. In a brilliant bit of meta-casting, his father Hugh is played by the real Simon Pegg. While both versions of the character struggle with anxiety and morality, Hugh’s presence makes a big difference. Although he’s initially sceptical of his son’s capabilities, he worries about him and tries to show him love and support. It makes Hughie’s descent into darker territory feels all the more tragic.

#7: Annie & Hughie’s Relationship

After Hughie and Annie AKA Starlight both have terrible days, they end up sharing a park bench and some friendly conversation. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that their jobs make them enemies. During season one, Hughie realizes Annie is a superhero fairly quickly. While using her to get intel on other heroes, Hughie and Annie start dating. Their relationship ends when Annie finds out she’s being used. Hughie’s comic counterpart is much more oblivious. Although he dates Annie for months, he’s unaware she’s a superhero until she literally floats off the ground. While their relationship recovers in the comics, it’s still unclear if the couple will get back together after the rocky events of season one.

#6: Stillwell’s Storyline & Gender

Don't let the fancy clothes fool you. The executive that oversees the Seven is responsible for a LOT of bloodshed. In the comics, this role is occupied by James Stillwell. The man is so cold and dedicated to his job that he ordered the mass murder of an entire superhero team to avoid bad press. He's also formidable enough to stare down an angry Homelander and outlive nearly every member of the Seven. The show gender swapped the character and renamed her - something they also did with the Boys’ former leader Mallory. Although “Madelyn” Stillwell is just as ruthless as her comic counterpart, she also has a disturbing and intimate relationship with Homelander. That is, until Homelander catches her out in a lie, and kills her.

#5: Hughie's First Kill

Shortly after joining the boys, Hughie ends up killing someone for the first time. In the comic, this pivotal event occurs after the boys humiliate a superhero team called the Teenage Kix. When one of its members, Blarney Cock (yes, that’s his name), attacks Hughie, Hughie accidentally kills him in self-defense. His homicide in the show however is 100% intentional. After the boys capture the hero Translucent and insert explosives inside his… um, body [bottom], Translucent tries to escape. Hughie initially decides to let the hero go. But he ultimately decides that it’s time to get his hands dirty - and detonates the bomb. Hughie’s decisive action makes his first kill feel darker and more malicious than in the comic.

#4: What Happens to Annie

Both adaptations of “The Boys” depict mature and disturbing events that highlight real social issues. One of hardest scenes to endure is Annie’s sexual assault. In the comic, Annie is assaulted by Homelander, Black Noir and A-Train, who corner her and threaten her with expulsion from the Seven. On the show, this role is taken over by the Deep. While the comic heroes are never directly punished for their crime, Deep faces heavy consequences on the show. After Annie exposes him on live TV, the Deep’s forced to make a public apology and is indefinitely suspended from the Seven. Overall, the show’s focus on Annie’s assault and its aftermath provided a better take on this difficult storyline.

#3: The Plane Incident

When Stillwell hears that terrorists have hijacked a plane, she sends Homelander and Maeve to save the passengers. But during the rescue mission, Homelander accidentally fries the controls. Unable to land the plane, the heroes abandon the mission and leave the passengers to die. As bad as that sounds, the comic’s version of events is even worse. In the comic, the plane is hijacked on . . . September 11th, 2001. After the Seven fail to save it, the plane crashes into the Brooklyn Bridge. By associating the incident with real historical events, it made for an even more horrifying and harrowing scene.

#2: The Boys & Superpowers

How does a ragtag group like the Boys stand a chance against superheroes? Easy! In the comic, they all have superpowers. Both Mother's Milk and The Female get their powers when they’re young. The rest of the team uses the drug Compound V to acquire super strength and increased durability. On the show, the team is much more vulnerable. Kimiko is the only one of the Boys who has enhanced abilities. Although Compound V still exists, Frenchie's the only one who’s interested in trying it out. But given that A-Train’s dependency on Compound V nearly killed him, the Boys have every reason to say no to this drug.

#1: Becca Butcher’s Fate

Butcher's hatred of superheroes is tied to his wife Becca. In the comics, he awoke one night to find that she’d given birth to a superpowered son. When the boy started shooting lasers, Butcher killed him in self-defense. To make matters worse, Becca dies during childbirth. Believing she’d been assaulted by a superhero, Butcher launched a crusade to take them all out. His show counterpart seemed to more or less share this backstory…until the season one finale. In a shocking series of twists, it’s revealed that Becca is alive, in hiding, and raising Homelander’s son. This major departure from the comics makes it impossible for even die-hard fans to predict what comes next.