The boys comic book franchise was adapted to small screens in 2019 with characters parodying popular Marvel and DC characters. In the TV series and the comics, the premise is the same: Billy Butcher’s ragtag team targets supes (superheroes) committing atrocities behind the scenes. In The Omnibus Boys Vol. 1, all the supes around the world want to be part of the Seven, the best dogs in the world of superheroes controlled by the company Vought International. The team includes Homelander, Black Noir, Queen Maeve, A-Train, Jack From Jupiter, The Deep, and Starlight. Stormfront also joins The Seven in the comics and the TV series at different points in the timeline. These characters are direct references to members of DC Comics’ Justice League, while other supes in the series mimic Marvel Comics’ Avengers.
The boys offers a more realistic view of a world of super-powered individuals unlike its Marvel and DC counterparts. The Avengers and Justice League portray their heroes as good simply for being good, while financial matters take on secondary importance. Sometimes the practicality of real-world responsibilities is brought up. For example, in the Disney Plus TV series Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Falcon states that being an Avenger pays nothing. The Seven would agree with this statement; they discuss it at every meeting.
While the Avengers and the Justice League save the world again and again without commensurate financial compensation, the Seven barely lift a finger and earn hefty paychecks from their celebrity status. They have the same powers as the Justice League, but violate Uncle Ben’s famous phrase: “with great power comes responsibility”. Sevens certainly have great power, but they have no sense of responsibility. For example, they commit various atrocities which Vought easily conceals to maintain each character’s image. The Omnibus Boys Vol. 1 begins with A-Train, a parody of The Flash, killing Hughie’s girlfriend as easily as killing a fly, and instead of remorse or an apology, the lawyers urge Hughie to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Homelander, the leader of the Seven, has the social status of Captain America and the powers of Superman, but with a complete lack of morals when he’s not on camera. Luckily, DC Comics’ most powerful superhero has impeccable morals. Clark Kent is a decent man who received a solid education on his family farm in Smallville. Vought, on the other hand, created a psychopathic version of the Superman archetype. Society pumped Homelander with an abundance of Compound V as a child, making him the most powerful being in the world. As insurance, Vought created a clone of Homelander to kill him if he got out of control; the clone impersonates the silent Black Noir.
Black Noir, dressed in black to hide his identity, parodies Batman. Although Batman lacks cloned DNA and superpowers, he also retains kryptonite weapons to use against Superman in case he goes rogue. Like Batman, Black Noir spends a lot of time with Homelander as a teammate, but his existence as a clone creates instability. Because he exists for the sole purpose of eliminating Homelander, he becomes more unstable the longer he cannot fulfill his destiny. This madness leads Black Noir to use his appearance to frame Homelander for a series of atrocities, including cannibalism and murder.
In The boys TV series, Black Noir has an entirely different identity, and other characters are added, replaced, or gender-swapped, such as Stormfront. The Stormfront character parodies DC’s Shazam and Marvel’s Thor. Although he is gender-swapped in the series, he has similar origins; the Nazis sought to create an army of super-soldiers, and the experimentation turned a young Stormfront into the world’s first supe. Despite his corrupt mindset and dangerous nature, Vought used his DNA to create Homelander to lead Vought’s celebrity team above the law. Both Iron Man and Batman fund their respective teams and all of their efforts, but Vought is the monopoly of The boys’ story-verse. Not only do they fund and run The Seven, but they run all the supes globally and cover up their misdeeds. All of the existing comics in the story world use fabricated storylines that fans consider to be biographies of supers like The Seven.
The boys’ the script mimics reality while Marvel and DC often abandon realism for fantasy. Instead of creating characters who can somehow afford to live in New York as full-time, unpaid superheroes, The Seven see their unique skills as a business opportunity; in a capitalist society, special skills pay the bills and anyone would exploit superpowers for profit. The boys shows the intricacies of power dynamics that come from money and fame with a monopoly like Vought in control of entertainment, politics, security, and the list goes on. Vought can accomplish anything as long as they control the Supes, and more specifically, The Seven.
In the DC Universe, Wayne Enterprises can rival Vought in power and capital. If Wayne Enterprises followed Vought’s lead in power, it would allow Batman to implement needed changes in Gotham through policies and social programs, but he instead focuses his time and money on his individual military crusades. While a pursuit of wealth creates a perfect recipe for corruption, Vought would have the perfect platform to actually embrace positive change if desired, but instead the instability that supes are force-fed into makes targets for Billy Butcher and his boys.