7 Biggest Ways Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ TV Show Is Different From The Comics

Since its debut, Amazon Prime Video‘s The Boys has been lauded for its gritty, no-holds-barred take on the superhero genre. With the recent premiere of Season 4, showrunner Eric Kripke has taken that ethos and cranked it up to eleven.

While the show remains true to the anarchic spirit of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comics, it diverges in several significant ways. These changes not only distinguish the TV series from its source material, but also enhance the narrative for a different medium. Here are some of the biggest ways The Boys TV show differs from the comics.

1. The origins of The Boys

One of the most striking differences between the original and the adaptation is The Boys themselves. In the comics, The Boys are depicted as CIA agents tasked by the U.S. government with keeping superhumans (or ‘supes’) in check. In contrast, the TV adaptation presents The Boys as a group of vigilantes who loosely work with CIA contact Grace Mallory (Laila Robins, Deception) and the President-elect.

In addition, Hughie is Scottish in the comics, having been drawn to resemble Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead). The show’s Hughie (Jack Quaid, My Adventures with Superman) is American, though in a nod to the comics, his dad is played by Simon Pegg. Meanwhile, Frenchie (Tomer Capone, One Week and a Day) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) have a deeper history in the comics, having worked together for some time, as opposed to their first meeting occurring in the show.

Kimiko (known simply as The Female in the comics) also gains a brand new backstory in the show. The comics have her moonlighting as a mafia assassin while attributing her brutal strength to accidentally ingesting Compound V as a baby. In the show, Kimiko is a former child soldier who was injected with Compound V by her guerilla comrades. This twist links her origin to Vought’s sinister agenda to create supervillains, to artificially inflate the demand for supes.

2. Powers vs no powers

‘The Boys’ in the comics regularly dose themselves with Compound V, a potent chemical that grants them superhuman strength and peak physical conditioning – it’s the same substance that powers the supes. This levels the playing field, allowing them to engage in relatively fair fights against their superpowered adversaries.

However, Kimiko is the only one in the group with powers in the TV series, though Butcher (Karl Urban, Dredd) and Hughie do get powered up with the help of Temp V in Season 3. This lack of inherent power forces characters like Frenchie and Hughie to carefully plan how to counter the unique abilities of each supe, or improvise solutions on the fly, making every confrontation far more compelling than the superhuman brawls in the comics.

3. Mother’s Milk

The character Mother’s Milk (or M.M.) is perhaps the most wildly different between his comics and onscreen counterparts, such that they may as well be different characters entirely. For starters, Mother’s Milk in the comics is Baron Wallis, the first naturally-born supe, who regularly consumes his mother’s Compound V-enhanced breastmilk to maintain his survival, which is where his nickname stems from.

The TV show distributes some of these qualities to other characters, with Homelander (Antony Starr, After the Waterfall) gaining a breastmilk fetish and Homelander’s son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti, Goodnight Mommy) becoming the first naturally-born supe. The live-action adaptation also renames the character to Marvin Milk (Laz Alonso, Fast & Furious 4), with his nickname being derived from his nurturing traits as a battlefield medic instead.

Due to these differences, his family is also portrayed quite differently. Baron’s daughter Janine is prematurely aged up from a child to a rebellious teenager (thanks to her father’s Compound V genetics), and who subsequently appeared in a pornographic film under the encouragement of her drug-addicted mother. In comparison, Marvin’s daughter and estranged wife in the show are more loving, even if the latter does end up dating a Homelander fan for the first three seasons.

4. The identity of Black Noir

In both the comics and the TV show, Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell, Ginny & Georgia) is portrayed as the Seven’s silent and terrifying enforcer, often compared to Batman for his stealth and combat prowess. However, the comic series throws a major twist near the end, revealing that Black Noir is actually a deranged clone of Homelander. Noir commits heinous acts to push Homelander to the brink, intending to kill him and assume his role, which was Vought’s contingency plan all along.

The Boys TV adaptation takes a different path. Black Noir’s true identity remains hidden for much of the series until it’s revealed that he is a supe named Earving, who fought alongside Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles, Supernatural) in Vietnam and was severely scarred. The show diverges further by having Homelander kill Noir upon discovering his secrets about Soldier Boy.

In Season 4, a new character dons the Black Noir suit, treating the role more like an acting gig. So far, this new Black Noir is played for laughs, often questioning his lack of direction and the characterisation of his predecessor.

5. Butcher’s wife and Ryan

Butcher’s wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten, The Final Destination), and her son Ryan don’t really factor as much in the comics compared to the TV show. While Becca does give birth to a superpowered baby in the comics, she dies in the process, while Butcher is forced to beat the heat vision-empowered infant to death. To add another wrinkle to the picture, the child was actually the product of Becca’s rape at the hands of Black Noir, disguised as Homelander.

The survival of Ryan in the TV show adds a more profound dimension to the struggle between Butcher and Homelander, as they simultaneously grapple with the challenges of becoming a father figure to a superpowered child.

6. Genderswapped roles

Some characters in The Boys TV show are gender-swapped from their comic book counterparts. For example, Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas), Stormfront (Aya Cash, You’re the Worst), and Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit, Timeless) are all men in the comics. But these changes serve more than just diversity and inclusivity; turning them into women for the show significantly impacts their interactions with Homelander, intensifying his Oedipus complex.

These changes also come with other tweaks to the aforementioned characters. Madelyn Stillwell’s more cold-blooded comic book counterpart, James Stillwell, survives to the end of the series. While Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad) meets his demise, Stillwell seamlessly steps in to fill the power vacuum with another Vought executive. Needless to say, the breastfeeding relationship between Madelyn and Homelander isn’t present in the comics.

With regards to Stormfront, her origins and powers in the comics align closely with her TV portrayal, but the genderswap evolves the character’s rivalry with Homelander into a complex and heated romance. Furthermore, instead of being a member of the super-team Payback, Stormfront is a key player in The Seven.

In the case of Victoria Neuman, her comics counterpart Victor Neuman (known as ‘Vic the Veep’) is a dim-witted Vice President of the United States used by Vought to gain influence in the White House. The TV show reimagines Victoria as a far more cunning character with her own agenda separate from the corrupt corporation. Unlike her comic counterpart, she is also revealed to be a supe with the ability to make heads explode.

7. Other superheroes and superhero teams

While The Boys’ fight against the Seven and Homelander is painted as the central conflict of the show, the comics actually have the team work their way up the ladder as they confront other lesser superhero teams like the Teenage Kix and Payback as practice fodder before going to war with the Seven.

The show’s depiction of the Seven also cycles through members more frequently than the comics. Invisible supe Translucent (Alex Hassell, Cowboy Bebop), an original creation for the show, subs in for the Martian Manhunter-inspired Jack from Jupiter as one of the original members of the Seven in the show. In addition, Stormfront and Supersonic (Miles Gaston Villanueva, The Young and the Restless) briefly make their way into the Seven in Seasons Two and Three respectively, while newcomers to the series Sister Sage (Susan Heyward, Powers) and Firecracker (Valorie Curry, The Tick) join the team in the fourth season.

Other supes that are entirely new to the show include Mesmer (Haley Joel Osment, Sex Ed), the mind-reading former child star, and Ezekiel (Shaun Benson, Channel Zero: Candle Cove), the elastic Christian preacher, among others. These additions help add detail to the show’s rich world.

There are various other distinctions, of course, such as A-Train’s (Jessie T. Usher, Survivor’s Remorse) raceswap, Soldier Boy’s connection to Homelander, and even the show’s commentary on our modern political and capitalist climate. While The Boys TV series honours its graphic novel origins, it carves out its own identity through these key differences. By deepening characters, expanding themes, and integrating sharp social commentary, the show transcends its source material, offering a richer, more layered experience that resonates with a contemporary audience.