Since the recent televised adaptation of The Boys in July of this year, many have commented on the fascinating interpretation of the character Homelander presented by actor Anthony Star’s performance; which offers a refreshing take on this unique creation. Despite the praise, though, there are still some inconsistencies that divert either from the comic representation of him or from the superficial exterior he has in the show. These inconsistencies are not necessarily mistakes, but observations taken into consideration about the logic of the character and his arc, and it is with this in mind, that we look at the following 10 things about Homelander that don’t make sense.
Throughout the development of Homelander’s arc in season one, he has been selling himself as the genuine article. The reality, of course, is that he has always been a better villain than a hero. While heroes are known to define themselves through self-sacrifice, Homelander does the opposite, relying on his “talking points” and branding to convey his identity as a hero. Regardless, however, it is his self-aggrandizing, tyrannical, and perhaps even sociopathic behavior, that portrays a wicked disposition.
Homelander as a character is no doubt meant to be an amalgamation of Superman’s powers with a Captain America aesthetic. The reality, however, is that his behavior (and frankly his origin) best reflects Bizarro, a known character from the DC universe to be a constant source of destructive chaos. Homelander is similarly destructive, yet he often does not regret his behavior, and will further refuse to take responsibility, so that he can ultimately cast himself as the savior. At least Bizzaro is empathetic and generally cares for the lives of others.
Homelander’s efforts to essentially create enemies that would require his support in the event of a war hearkens back to the villain Ozymandias’ schemes to forcefully create world peace. For example, both establish an external danger that is threatening enough that leaders will forgo their political agendas to fight a common enemy. For Homelander, however, it is these very actions on his part that endangers people, rather than keeps them safe. Meaning that despite his representation as a hero, it is Homelander’s actions that convey his true nature as a villain.
From the beginning, the interactions between Queen Maeve and Homelander appear to be one-sided. Homelander is under the impression that because Maeve seemingly understands him for the invulnerable god that he is, because of her own invulnerability, thus allowing him to trust her as a partner. Nevertheless, her biting sarcasm as well her expressions of regret and doubt that follow her interactions with Homelander, reveal that Maeve may not be the trustworthy friend that he thought her to be. In fact, his trust in her may be condemning for him in the long term, because she is one of the few people in the world who knows Homelander is a fraud; not to mention, she is also one of the few people in the world who could potentially kill him.
Time and again, Homelander spouts that because he knows what people want to hear regarding his persona, he then essentially understands people. Homelander’s isolated upbringing within a lab, however, inevitably prevents him from relating to, let alone understanding, human beings. His resentment towards people, his general apathy, and the god complex he touts are thus a byproduct of Homelander’s growth out of isolation and into the world. The irony of this is that Homelander is more of an alien to the humans of Earth than Superman himself.
There are moments in the show where Billy Butcher is so near to Homelander, that the two even exchange eye contact. Regardless, Homelander does not look into Billy the Butcher until episode six, despite the fact that he should have at least heard Billy set off the bomb that would inform him of his threat. While it may be the case that he is not as powerful Superman, it would still be strange for someone to not look into the random stranger that keeps on glaring at them from afar. Could be, as well, however, that Homelander is just arrogant enough to underestimate Billy’s ire for him; which is not out of the question either.
On the surface, it might appear that Homelander is a clever mastermind that deliberately applies his means to meet his ends. It is questionable, however, whether or not Homelander simply reacts and does what he does for the sole purpose of pleasing Stillwell. A single example of this might be the plane hijacking incident, whereupon Homelander is convinced to save the passengers because, to Madlyn, it is “more important than anything.” Even though Homelander manages to send the passengers to their deaths, he recovers by giving a rallying cry to legitimize Vought to prevent future disasters. Eventually, Homelander even explains to Madlyn that he did this to “save” her reputation. All of this points to the likely case that Homelander is acting for the approval of Stillwell rather than for the sake of an end goal.
Clearly, Homelander is the villain of this story, even though he’s not smart enough to know when he is being manipulated. Homelander’s success in advancing his domination over others may be his skillful deception, but it’s not of his own creation. In actuality, it is Madlyn Stillwell who manipulates Homelander into believing the lies she told him about himself, and then it was his Oedipal relationship to her that allowed these lies to flourish. In the end, really, Homelander is just as much a fool as the rest of the world for believing that he deserves to be recognized, as a legitimate source of protection.
The show’s adaptation from the comic book of the same name has occasionally sprinkled in references to the source material, but it appears, overall, that the show has maintained varying differences between the comic book plot and the show’s. This being said, it is slightly strange to see how sexually incompetent Homelander is, during the only sexual encounter that he has been seen in, in the show so far. On paper, though, Homelander is a known sex offender, who does not hesitate to hump the nearest person, be it consensual or otherwise. Although it could be argued that many characters from The Boys are sex deviants, it is nevertheless odd to see Homelander so quick to, well, finish in the show.
In his very first introduction, the audience is aware that Homelander is a loose cannon. He often reacts before considering the consequences for his actions and then dismisses them just as easily. Stillwell, the one person that seemed to control Homelander, is furthermore killed by him after she confesses to him that she always feared he would one day kill her. How is it possible, then, to stop Homelander without a physical or figurative weakness? And, why did no one think that Homelander would become unstable after being betrayed? In any case, the next season of The Boys will no doubt explore what happens when a godlike being decides to abandon humanity altogether.