Vought’s Best Hero Before Homelander Isn’t Who You Think
Homelander is by far Vought’s most popular supe in The Boys, but who was the company’s main hero before him? The answer might surprise you…
The boys‘top supe before Vought introduced Homelander probably isn’t what you think. The original by Garth Ennis The boys the comics and Amazon’s live-action adaptation put one man, and one man only, at the top of Vought’s superhero hierarchy. In every way imaginable, Homelander is the best dog in the business. He is their most powerful weapon, the leader of the Seven, their most marketable asset, and an unrivaled political bargaining chip. Homelander is clearly no newcomer when The boys starts either – he’s rented on the peloton for about a decade, if not more. Based on footage dated to his childhood, we can roughly guess Homelander debuted around the early 2000s.
Vought, we know, has been around for much longer, churning out Compound-V heroes since WWII. So who was the highest ranked supe in the business before Homelander came along? For the majority The boys viewers, imagining anyone other that Homey in this position feels bad, but surely one of the main candidates has to be Soldier Boy. We know that Soldier Boy was active from WWII through the 1980s, starred in many movies along the way, and erected a statue in his honor. Debut in The boys season 3 and played by Jensen Ackles, Soldier Boy has also been described as something of a “proto-Homelander”, carrying the same all-American patriotic message.
The boys now reveals Vought’s best supe before Homelander was, in fact, Black Noir. In The boys: diabolicalThe “One Plus One Equals Two” episode of Homelander (or “The Homelander”, at this point) Vought premieres for the very first time. He named Black Noir as his mentor, describing the silent supe as a man he looked up to all his life. This must mean that Black Noir has served under Vought’s employ since the early 1990s, at least. The interior of the Vought Tower is visibly covered in “Black Noir” merchandise material, and Madelyn Stillwell even warns Homelander that Noir wouldn’t want a competitor for his “number one seat.”
Black Noir isn’t exactly the first supe you imagine to top Vought’s company-wide charts. For starters, he doesn’t even speak. That means no interviews, no proper media appearances, limited charismatic appeal. Black Noir’s powers are also pretty standard – superhuman strength, agility, durability, etc. – nothing to do with Homelander’s impressive flying and laser eyes. Black Noir is as close to Homelander’s polar opposite as you’ll find in the Vought books, so the fact that Homey replaced Noir as Vought’s biggest star instead of Soldier Boy, Lamplighter, or Mister Marathon is certainly a shock. May be The boys: diabolicalBlack Noir’s popularity riffs on the actual DC rivalry between Superman and Batman. If Homelander is Supes, Noir is closer to the Dark Knight, and DC’s top stars have endured a (mostly) friendly popularity contest for nearly a century. Their real-life feud might have influenced the decision to make Black Noir’s immediate predecessor Homelander.
That’s not to say Soldier Boy wasn’t Vought’s best supe before Black Black. From his statue we know Soldier Boy retired/died in the 1980’s so maybe he topped the charts for the 1940’s company until then when Black Noir has grown in importance. Noir’s loud and quiet appeal propelled him to stardom, but Vought wanted another patriotic supe in the mold of Soldier Boy, so Homelander was introduced, stealing Noir’s mantle. What’s particularly interesting is that Black Noir doesn’t particularly care. Rather than seeing Homelander as a threat to his throne, Noir goes out of his way to to help the inexperienced newcomer. He might just be the kind of laid-back guy Noir is, but that immediately friendly relationship between Seven’s heroes could also factor into it. The boys season 3 – especially if, as rumors suggest, Noir is secretly replaced by an impostor from Vought.
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