There’s a satisfying catharsis in The Boys’ perversion of classic comic superheroes. Think Homelander—Superman, but a Neo-Nazi-flirting war criminal. Or the Deep—Aquaman, but as a sexual predator. For the hero fatigued, The Boys is like a shot of super-soldier serum straight to our cynical veins and, good god, does it feel good.
Season 3 promised to take things even further, with the trailer already alluding to a recent Marvel moment—with Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) playing the part of John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who in Marvel’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier bludgeons a baddie with Captain America’s shield. Of course, in the MCU the moment plays out as a corruption of character, a soiling of the good name of Steve Rogers. In The Boys, we expect the tone to be full irony; there’s no good name to soil when America’s heroes are murderous psychopaths. And so now that perversion is coming for the comic kingdom’s most redeemable hero: Captain America. It’s time for his image to be ceremoniously dragged through some shit.
We’ve met The Boys’ Soldier Boy character before, at least in name. He has been previously mentioned by Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) as the first hero—kinda like the “first Avenger.” (That makes Stan Edgar the anti Nick Fury, by the way.) We also know he’s responsible for the killing the family of Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso).
In Episode 2, we learn a bit more about this founding Supe through an informational video clearly parodying the same museum informational found in the MCU. (We’re talking about all that hokey Captain America propaganda crap.)
“Soldier Boy grew up in the birthplace of American liberty. Born poor in the mean streets of south Philadelphia, he learned the values of hard work, tenacity and bravery. He used those values to prove America’s exceptionalism to the world. He defended us against the encroaching Red menace. He helped guide America into a better future, and along the way he found the love of a good woman. Which made his sacrifice all the more noble, when he gave his life saving us from a nuclear holocaust.”
Soldier Boy is shown fighting for the Allies in World War II and initiating McCarthyism during the Cold War. His death allegedly occurred during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Of course, none of The Boys buy this farce, and we learn soon after that Soldier Boy died by an unknown weapon in Central America. The last sighting of Soldier Boy: Nicaragua, his body carried off by a Soviet plane after a skirmish between guerilla soldiers backed by the CIA and Russian special forces.
Oh, and all that tenacity and hard work and love of a good woman stuff—well, turns out Soldier Boy was really just an arrogant shit. Big surprise.
What are Soldier Boy’s powers?
Soldier Boy is often likened to Homelander. He’s similarly invincible (seemingly), making whatever weapon that killed him a possible tool for our heroes to destroy Homelander.
His powers are standard leading man abilities in the comic world: superhuman strength, superhuman speed, and superhuman longevity. He can move as quickly, punch as hard, and age as slowly as Homelander. In the comics, he can also generate powerful energy blasts.
Who plays Soldier Boy?
The Captain America parody is played by Jensen Ackles, whom genre fans will know from the long-running Supernatural. He’s also appeared in another comic-inspired franchise, Smallville, and two animated Batman films as a voice actor.
The Boys writer Eric Kripke (who also created Supernatural) said in an interview with Vanity Fair that he hadn’t considered Ackles when writing the Solider Boy part. His casting Ackles came only after a phone call with the actor, during which Kripke complained about his attempts to cast Soldier Boy. Originally, Kripke wanted to cast someone older. On the phone with Ackles, Kripke realized he was talking to the right guy.
In an interview earlier this year, Ackles described his octogenarian character.
“He’s a grandpa. He’s from the ’40s. He fought in World War II, and he’s just this curmudgeon, bigoted asshole. He doesn’t age, so he’s this young, 40-year-old superhero who’s really 80 years old or 90 years old. There’s just so much material there, you’ll see what I mean when you see the show but he has a taste for people who were of his era.”
We’re not quite sure what any of this means yet, but boy are we excited.
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