Comics Explain How Billy Butcher Beats Homelander in 'The Boys' Season 2

Will The Boys finally use Compound V?

Amazon’s The Boys follows a group of vigilantes in their attempts attempt to bring down a team of corrupt, corporation-backed superheroes, or “Supes,” known as The Seven. It’s not exactly a fair fight, though the Boys manage to do pretty well in Season 1 despite some serious disadvantages. But in Season 2, our heroes could take advantage of a plot from the original comic series to really even the playing field.

Warning! Possible spoilers for The Boys Season 2 ahead.

In the comic series that inspired the show, the Boys inject themselves with a substance known as Compound V to give themselves Supe-level abilities. That hasn’t happened yet in the Amazon series, but a key divergence from the source material in the Season 1 finale has prompted fans to speculate that The Boys Season 2 could catch up with this specific comics plotline soon.

What Exactly is Compound V?

In The Boys comics, Compound V was created by Nazi scientists back in the 1930s to give superheroes their unique abilities. Fast-forward to the present, and the company that created the substance, Vought Industries, is still around and thriving as an American defense contractor. Vought also happens to be an enormously influential global content producer, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Marvel.

Vought wants the public to assume The Seven, the in-universe equivalent to the Avengers or the Justice League, were born with their dazzling, formidable powers. As it turns out, the corporation has been injecting babies with Compound V to turn them into Supes. More recently, they even started creating supervillains for The Seven to fight… all of which has resulted in hefty profits.

Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) explains the immense power Vought has derived from Compound V to Hughie (Jack Quaid) in the first episode of the Amazon series. “A multibillion-dollar industry supported by corporate lobbyists and politicians on both sides. But the main reason you won’t hear about it is ‘cause the people don’t want to know about it. See, people love that cozy feeling that Supes give them. Some golden cunt to swoop out of the sky and save the day.“ Butcher adds that their job is to “spank the bastards when they get out of line.”

How theAmazon Series Handled Compound V Differently Than the Comics

On their first mission in the comics, Butcher injects Hughie with Compound V and then tells his latest recruit that the other members have already taken it. Hughie’s furious that he’s unwittingly become the thing he most hates, but eventually, he comes to accept it.

Butcher injects Hughie with Compound V in 'The Boys.'
Butcher injects Hughie with Compound V in *The Boys."

Butcher hasn’t been as freewheeling with the injections In Amazon’s adaptation thus far. In both the show and comics, his hatred of Supes stems from his belief that his Homelander raped his wife, Becca, leading to her death. In the comics, she stays dead, but in the show’s Season 1 finale, we learn that Butcher’s wife, Becca, is still alive, as is the child she conceived with Homelander.

Ahead of Season 2, fans suspect Butcher’s desire for revenge against Homelander will be what motivates him to use Compound V on himself and his teammates. In a thread on The Boys subreddit, redditor u/minh1265 points out that Billy “got ‘saved’ by Homelander just to witness something else worse. I think this would be a turning point for Butcher to become more ruthless like his comics counterpart.”

You gotta admit, that’s a pretty good reason.

The Boys Showrunner Has Hinted Compound V Will Be Central to Season 2

In a post-finale interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Eric Kripke made it clear that Compound V will continue to be a major focus of the story in the show’s second season.

“If it’s a secret, if it’s nothing the world knows about yet, then it becomes a secret that everyone will kill for, and it gives you an object that everybody wants, and it does all the great things a McGuffin does,” he explained. 

Elsewhere in the interview, Kripke also explained that his version of The Boys won’t delve into all the extraterrestrial and otherworldly “heroes” featured in the comics. Instead, his aim is keeping Vought and Compound V the central focus of the show.

“To me, all the best science fiction, fantasy is 90 percent reality,” he elaborated. “The only magic that you’re allowed in the show is this vaccine called Compound V and it happens to give people unpredictable superheroes, and that’s all you get… Anything that comes out of this drug is viable, and anything that doesn’t we’re not allowed to do.”

So clearly Compound V will pay an even bigger role in The Boys Season 2, which is already filming. The question is: Will Billy Butcher and the rest of his crew use the superhero steroid to even the playing field or will they stick to the tactics that have worked pretty well for them so far?


The Boys is available now to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Media via Dynamite, Amazon