In true anti-hero form, The Boys‘ leader Billy Butcher is willing to fight his battles by any means necessary – a trait he shares with arch-rival the Homelander. Considering the dangers Supes pose to normal people, and the power Vought wields on their behalf, Butcher needs to bend the rules to get things done. Unfortunately, there were more than a few times when his win-at-all-costs mentality caused him to become a villain more sinister than even Homelander.
As The Boy’s primary villain (at least at first), Homelander has committed some shockingly evil acts against friend and foe alike. As immature as he is powerful, Homelander has possessed godlike powers his entire life, and views everyone around him as a means to an end. While not particularly intelligent, Homelander’s power amplifies his faults to the national stage – the comic series ends with him carrying out a quickly-thwarted coup simply because he wants to feel more important
Homelander is evil to be sure, but he acts out of impulsivity and insecurity, without any real self-reflection. He harms friends and enemies with brutal violence and unforgivable ‘pranks,’ but lacks the imagination or patience that define Butcher. The Boys’ leader is far more calculating and ruthless, and there are many occasions where he considers all the angles, then settles on the most brutal and callous path possible.
10 Torturing & Killing Jack from Jupiter
It’s no secret that Butcher hated Supes and jumps at the opportunity to use violence against them, but what Butcher does to Jack from Jupiter in Garth Ennis and Russ Braun’s The Boys #59 goes well beyond this. Angry that Jack killed his dog Terror, Butcher subjects him to a long, grueling, torturous death, making sure he knows there’s absolutely no hope of escape. While Homelander has taken joy in the terror of his victims, there’s nothing in his history as drawn-out and merciless as Butcher’s actions here, in what’s undoubtedly the series’ most disturbing scene.
9 Killing Love Sausage
Once Homelander is defeated, Butcher begins his plan to kill all Supes. As part of this, he cleans up the loose ends of anyone who could stop – or even hinder – his efforts. One such person is Love Sausage, the Russian superhero who helped the Boys defeat the gangster known as Little Nina. In The Boys #66, Butcher shoots fan favorite Love Sausage not once, but three times with a bazooka, leaving him to bleed out in a painful death. Homelander has also turned on his allies, but mostly because he never valued them in the first place (and rarely pretends otherwise.) Butcher ate, drank, and joked with Love Sausage, who helped save the team in their fight against Stormfront. However, Billy Butcher is so callous, none of that means anything once Love Sausage becomes even a potential hurdle to his plans.
8 Killing The Legend
The Boys could only take on Vought and the Supes by being a tight-knit group with an equally trusted network of friends and allies that provided Butcher with the information and resources they needed. Without that trust and commitment, they wouldn’t have lasted long. In The Boys #67, Butcher repays the Legend (a thinly-veiled parody of Stan Lee) for all the help he’s provided over the years, terrifying the old man into a heart attack. This was another murder of an ally, but while Love Sausage had superpowers and would have been hard to contain, Butcher could have effortlessly kidnaped the Legend and stashed him away, removing him without killing a friend (just as he did another asset, who we’ll cover shortly.)
7 Inciting Hughie To Become A Murderer
In fighting an opponent that was more powerful, organized, and more influential, one can’t fault Butcher for dabbling in manipulation when it’s the difference between life and death. However, his use of it on Hughie, whose innocence and goodness he repeatedly claims to value, is one of his most insidious acts. Butcher provokes Hughie into killing both A-Train and, later, Butcher himself, while elsewhere Hughie expresses that he can’t find a way out of Butcher’s mind games, attempting to assert himself only to play into his hands.
It’s on Hughie that he murders two people who offer no threat to him in the moment, but Butcher goes out of his way to turn the most innocent, pleasant man he can find into a killer – something that gets even more twisted once the miniseries The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker reveals Butcher equates Hughie to his little brother, who stopped him murdering their father when they were kids.
6 Crashing A Vought Exec’s Dinner Party
One key difference between Butcher and Homelander that suggests he’s a much darker individual is that Butcher seems to understand how cruel he can be, and that there is a choice to be better. However, despite self-understanding, Butcher consistently chooses to be cruel in the most premeditated, traumatizing ways possible. This was demonstrated in The Boys: Dear Becky #7, where rather than just interrogate a Vought executive caught saying more than he should, Butcher beheads the new team of Supes the executive was “handling” then posing them at a dinner table as if they’re eating. It’s senseless overkill intended to destroy the executive mentally,
5 Faking Vogelbaum’s Death, Then Enslaving Him
While Butcher had no issues with killing Supes, most of the time his actions against them involved himself and teammates who were willingly committed to his cause. But that wasn’t the case with Jonah Vogelbaum, the man most responsible for the production of Compound V. Rather than kill him, as he was ordered to do by Captain Mallory, Butcher faked his death and hid him away at a strong house only he knew about. However, he did not save him out of kindness, but rather forced Vogelbaum to work for years to produce an anti-Supe weapon of mass destruction that would kill many innocent people – finally slaughtering him once it was convenient to his plans. Even Homelander freaked out after his most deplorable actions, crying and vomiting at the evil he’d performed, but Butcher was able to go about his life while knowing he had captured and enslaved someone.
4 Treating the Female Like An Animal
Butcher was never much of a “sweet talker,” but he is capable of moments of immense humanity towards people like Hughie and his wife Becky when he’s in the right mood. However, The Boys #38 shows his general disdain for other humans, even those who have been brutalized in the worst ways. After the Boys rescue the Female from a lab, he repeatedly refers to her as “it,” with the clear intent to train her like an attack animal, even once Frenchie argues she must be treated as human. Homelander may not respect other people’s humanity, but he lacks the patience to spend time studiously stripping it away to turn them into his personal weapon.
3 Killing Frenchie, the Female and Mother’s Milk
After killing the Legend and Love Sausage, The Boys #68 sees Butcher begin to kill off his team. Butcher plants a bomb in the team’s headquarters to kill the Female and Frenchie, and confronts Mother’s Milk directly, setting off a grenade in his face. Butcher later tells Hughie that he didn’t want them to die when he uses Vogelbaum’s weapon – and implies he wanted to give them a chance to stop him – but his underhanded techniques mean there’s little Frenchie and the Female could have done to survive, let alone fight back. Butcher admits that he loves Mother’s Milk while killing him, but confirms that’s simply not enough to change his plans – and that if MM hadn’t surprised him, he’d probably have killed his mom before taking him on (since she’s the source of Mother’s Milk’s strength.)
2 Killing Mother’s Milk’s Ex-wife
Fans learn in The Boys #67 that when Mother’s Milk took time off from the mission to find and save his daughter Janine, Butcher got upset. Seeing the girl’s mother as the source of the problem, Butcher tracked down Monique and killed her in front of Janine. Butcher then threatened the twelve-year-old (whose “power” causes her body to age rapidly) to stay away from Mother’s Milk, giving her the impression that her father had ordered the hit. Mother’s Milk and Janine talk once before Butcher kills Mother’s Milk, but he never sees his deeply traumatized daughter again.
1 Trying to Commit Genocide
Butcher does most of the terrible things above as part of his plan to kill off all Supes by causing a reaction in Compound V. As Hughie points out, Butcher has no way of knowing how many people will die, since anyone with even a trace of the chemical will be affected. This includes countless innocents and many children. Butcher’s plan is horrifying in scope, dwarfing even Homelander’s attempt to seize control of America, and yet something he’s so committed to, he was willing to kill all his friends and allies just on the chance they could stop him.
While there’s no denying the depravity of Homelander, Butcher is the darker character – mostly because he’s shown to fully understand how evil his choices actually are, and yet continue regardless. Indeed, while his intention with The Boys might be to stop Supes hurting normal people, Butcher is painstakingly hateful and cruel, seeking to cause as much suffering as possible and drag others down to his level – believing that without cruelty in their corner, people like Hughie won’t survive.
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