Prime Video’s The Boys, an adaptation of Garth Ennis’ The Boys comics, follows Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and a group of people trying to kill various superpowered beings. Their main target is Homelander (Antony Starr), the show’s “Superman,” along with many other superheroes that get in their way. Over the show’s past three seasons, their conflict has gotten increasingly more complicated, and as Homelander’s facade continues to fall apart, Season 4 will see him stand trial for his crimes in Season 3 while leaning into the popularity of his public persona to sow discord. The season is also set to introduce new characters, such as Butcher’s mysterious friend (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and new Supes such as Sister Sage (Susan Heyward) and Firecracker (Valorie Curry). The new season will also have to weave in threads from last year’s spin-off series Gen V, including Victoria Neuman’s acquisition of a Supe virus and rise to Vice President.

The Prime Video show’s comics source material, which ran from 2006 to 2012, had an entirely different story, though. The TV show and the comics share key story beats like Compound V and the conflict between The Boys and Homelander, but the show establishes itself as something entirely different when it introduces Ryan Butcher (Cameron Crovetti), Billy’s son. Ryan is a key player in the show’s storyline — but he dies by Butcher’s hand in the comics. This is just one example of the drastic changes between the two interpretations. The ending of the comics recontextualizes Billy Butcher and everything he did, so even if it needs slight alterations, here are all the reasons why it should be kept in the show.

Homelander and Black Noir Have a Deeper History Than Previously Thought

In the original comics, Homelander is defeated by three people. The military, using bullets specifically designed to harm superhumans, stall and trap him in the White House. While hiding, he’s immediately ambushed in the Oval Office by Black Noir (played by Nathan Mitchell in the show). This is important because Prime Video’s Black Noir is quite different from his comic counterpart. His identity remains a mystery until the Oval Office conflict when it’s revealed that he was a clone of Homelander designed as a contingency plan.

Black Noir’s sole purpose has always been to gather information on Homelander and kill him, but Noir never gets the order to finish the job. In the background, Black Noir has been losing his mind thanks to all the waiting. Since he looks identical to Homelander, Noir frames him for a number of atrocities so that he can finally accomplish his mission. Because of this, Black Noir is indirectly responsible for “creating” Billy Butcher by sexually assaulting Becky Saunders (Becca Butcher in the show, played by Shantel VanSanten). Butcher hears this and walks out of the White House, waiting to see which version of Homelander wins the fight. Black Noir walks out victorious, but Billy lures him out to an open field, gets the military to launch a hail of bullets and missiles, and finally stabs him with a crowbar.

How Do ‘The Boys’ Comics End?

Although this is the ending of The Boys’ main comic storyline, it isn’t the actual ending of the comics. The final issue begins with The Boys shutting down all official superhero groups. Butcher wanted to make sure that another Homelander would never exist by using chemical weapons to eliminate Compound V from the gene pool. That includes killing millions, and unfortunately, some of the superheroes that are on The Boys’ side. The Boys used Compound V to help them during fights, meaning they’ll have it in their bloodstream for the rest of their lives. One by one, Butcher hunts down and kills his former friends until Hughie Campbell (played by Jack Quaid in the show) finally stops him.

How Can ‘The Boys’ Incorporate the Comics’ Ending?

The comic’s ending definitely has its merits that could make The Boys even more unique. Just as the show’s beginning shocked people with how it treated superheroes, its ending could shock people with how it treats its protagonists. Karl Urban plays Billy Butcher as a charming yet tragic figure through his great performance and the fun chemistry he finds with his fellow actors. The comic’s ending turns Butcher into a monster, having The Boys and the audience see him from the perspective of the superheroes he hunts down. Turning such a charming protagonist into a monster hammers home key themes of the comics are currently starting to be unpacked in the show.

The way The Boys series handles Compound V also differs from the original comics, and leaning more into how the comics use this element could be interesting. The Boys use a variant of Compound V (Compound V24) themselves in the show, but it’s not like the comics, where they use the exact same chemicals that the heroes do. The series doesn’t display The Boys’ hypocrisy as heavily as the comics. In the show, V24 is an allegory for drug addiction and shows how addicting having superpowers can be. Finding ways to dig deeper into these themes of addiction feels important for capturing the spirit of what made the comics so beloved in the first place.

Does Prime Video’s ‘The Boys’ Do Anything Better Than the Comics?

The Boys has been served well up to this point by diverging in certain ways from its comic source material. Black Noir’s changes, for instance, are for the better. Having Butcher talk to and eventually work with Homelander to stop Soldier Boy in Season 3 is a fantastic piece of character development. In other ways, it’s suffered, like how the plot point about Homelander being framed takes away from his monstrous nature, and all the build-up that he’s had ever since the first season. The show as a whole is far more grounded than the comics. The comics feature exaggerated amounts of gore and far more superheroes in the world in general. By focusing everything on the conflict between The Boys and Homelander, the show gives us deeper, more effective characterization.

For example, Soldier Boy in the comics is practically nonexistent. The version that Jensen Ackles plays might as well be an original character, deserving of his own spin-off; he’s an even more effective Captain America parody than his comic counterpart. He differentiates himself from every other superhero by having a legitimate sense of honor and trying to take Homelander down every chance he gets. Right now, Soldier Boy is cryogenically frozen, not dead, and could return to the story if needed to replicate the White House fight.

Although there are vast differences between the plots of the show and the comics, it’s evident that the show is building to a similar thematic conclusion. The Boys are ultimately hypocrites, Homelander is defeated by both humans and superheroes, and Butcher will never let go of his hatred for anyone using Compound V. In the comics, Butcher is not a good person, and he is defeated by Hughie, a man who falls in love with a superhero. Incorporating this ending into the show might cause Game of Thrones levels of uproar, but it serves as a final reminder of what kind of world The Boys takes place in. The very first episode starts with someone literally being run through by a speedster, and if the last one ends with a powerless human causing the most damage to the people around him, it’s a fitting end.


By Ivaylo Angelov

Ivaylo Angelov born in Bulgaria, Varna graduated School Geo Milev is Tvserieswelove's Soaps Editor and oversees all of the section's news, features, spoilers and interviews.