The Most Powerful Characters In The Boys Ranked

Sixth century B.C. Chinese philosopher Laozi nicely summed up one of the main themes of Amazon's "The Boys," writing, "Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power." There are lots of physically strong Supes in this cutting and transgressive satire of modern politics, media, celebrity, and America's obsession with superheroes. What's lacking among the show's super-abled is self-control. Just like "The Watchmen" before it, this buzzy series proposes that if Superman were real, it's unlikely he'd have the choir-boy conscientiousness of Clark Kent. This show's Supes behave like craven politicians because "The Boys" is more about how public perception creates power than it is about who can leap the tallest building in a single bound.

If you want to know how super-abled trans-human science projects of the future might really behave, maybe look no further than how the most privileged people on Earth already act. The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial is a handy contemporaneous guide for how chaotically status can wax and wane for a worshipped elite. When the public has a say, as it does on "The Boys," no one is an island, and that includes this show's celebrity heroes Homelander, The Deep, A-Train, Starlight, et al. This list ranks raw strengths, to be sure, but when the smoke clears in this gruesome, explicit, and immensely entertaining show, it feels like restraint and political savvy will actually rule the day.

15. The Deep

There are at least a dozen side characters you could rank above The Deep in terms of Supe ability alone. That's the whole thing with Chace Crawford's hilarious take on the ineptitude of Aquaman. He's disrespected by his fellow superheroes as "the fish guy," and maybe most damningly, his repeated humiliations have shot his confidence. As a member of The Seven, and a right-hand lackey to Homelander, he ought to be in a good position. Yes, he once had a lot of influence, but by Season 3 he's nothing but a joke.

That's not to say his powers aren't impressive. Compound V has given him gills, the ability to swim to great depths, and he can commune with underwater creatures — but that comes with a sexual preference for octopi too. The oddity of his situation is also his weakness. He's humiliated by his body and his desires and considers the gills a hideous deformity that he hides in shame. This seems to be the reason for his assault on Starlight in Season 1. His own insecurity made him deem her a threat, and he wanted to demean her. The Deep is the most unctuous narcissist on the show, but it would be wrong to underestimate him. The Deep is strong, and he's still hanging on to influence as he bows and scrapes before almighty Homelander. Despite his weaknesses, he's still got a seat at the table, and both motive and opportunity to do some serious damage.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

14. Mesmer

One of the best things about "The Boys" for pop culture junkies is all the funny celebrity cameos, and this role by "The Sixth Sense" star Haley Joel Osmont really hits the spot. Osment's M. Night Shyamalan created-character might have once seen dead, people, but Osment's Mesmer sees everything. He's a psychic who can read minds by physical touch. He can also do some nifty mind control tricks and even protect himself with a telekinetic shield.

Mesmer, however, has also fallen on hard times. He's a bit washed up as a Supe celebrity and now hanging on by signing autographs at conventions. That leaves him vulnerable when Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), a former military intelligence officer, approaches him for some crucial information. When Mesmer betrays Butcher and company to Homelander (Antony Starr), detailing the group's identities for Vought, Mesmer really gets nothing in return. He's soon cornered by Butcher for this betrayal, and we see this Supe has no secondary powers. Mesmer is weak even by human standards, and Butcher easily beats him to death. It's too bad because in the Vought game of thrones, Mesmer's unique truth-telling ability could have been essential.

13. Kimiko

Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) is mute but she signs adeptly, so fans know she's deeply conflicted about what she's done in the past. She didn't choose this superhero life and wants out, making her one of the few good ones, even if she doesn't think so. Kimiko also has a serious trauma bond with Frenchie (Tomer Capone), the ordinary mortal assassin with a similar case of remorse, and they both stew in their guilt. Sometimes this despairing disposition makes her hesitate, but mostly her instincts are to fight. 

When things get violent, Kimiko's absolutely vicious. Her strength is incredible, and her combat style can only be described as animalistic. It's not a ballet of violence, but more like pure carnage. She's not unstoppable or bulletproof. A cap to the head will put her down, but only briefly. She has healing powers sort of like Wolverine of the X-Men, but that's really where her abilities end. Kimiko is either ferocious or licking her wounds, mentally and physically. As a Supe member of the primarily mortal Vought resistance, her ability sets her apart. She and Frenchie should really just sail into the sunset, but she's a tragic figure, so it seems there's little hope for a happy ending.

12. Ryan Butcher

Ryan Butcher (Cameron Crovetti) isn't really a Butcher. He's the child of Homelander and Butcher's wife, Becca Butcher, and he's inherited his biological father's extreme gifts, even if he doesn't fully know it yet. Homelander cruelly puts these genes to the test when he tosses Ryan from a rooftop. Thankfully, the experiment works. Ryan is unharmed and soon more confident, unleashing another of his father's signature powers: his meltingly hot laser eyes. Homelander mentors his son by telling him to focus on something he hates. Ryan's real trigger, though, seems to be someone he loves in danger. 

When Ryan's mother is fighting for her life against Stormfront, this super boy's eyes light up, and the next thing we know his mother is (accidentally) incinerated, along with Stormfront. Ryan has cut down one of the most powerful characters of the show in a mere moment of panic. Ryan's true nature is yet to be revealed, but there's a definite danger he turns out like dad. Homelander is a product of abuse; he was raised in a laboratory without a real mother or father, and that destroyed his psyche. He's also proven not to be the best father figure. With Ryan grieving over his mother, not to mention Butcher pushing the boy away to keep him safe, the cycle of trauma could repeat itself for this child whose superhero prowess may one day rival his father's.

11. Cindy

Cindy (Ess Hödlmoser) is basically Eleven from "Stranger Things." She's an imprisoned test patient at the sinister Sage Grove Center, which looks like a psyche ward for Supes. She seems to have been groomed for greatness, but maybe her powers were too extreme to be trusted. Her telekinetic abilities allow her to crush objects with a mere glance, and she uses them with relish.

When Lamplighter accidentally unleashes her in Season 2, she goes on an absolute rampage. Cindy seems unstoppable until Stormfront shows up to quell her revolt. She takes one of Stormfront's lightning blows head-on, and we think she's done. It turns out she was just knocked out and wakes up totally unharmed. Last we see of Cindy she's hitchhiking on the highway, and as far as we know, this terrifyingly powerful Supe is in the wind. If Cindy ever reemerges and gets into the fight, she could prove the most powerful of them all. Maybe only Homelander could endure the crushing power of her shattered mind.

10. Doppelganger

Sometimes it's the uniqueness of a power that matters most. Doppelganger (Dan Darin-Zanco) is the only shapeshifter on "The Boys," and this loyal Vought employee uses his skills to advance the company's evil agenda. What Vought really wants is a juicy defense contract. That means one of two things: putting superheroes in military uniform, or, selling a short-acting version of Compound V to America's armed forces at rates that would make even the pharmacy bro blush.

To that end, Doppelganger is deployed to get some kompromat on a sitting U.S. senator who won't play ball. He morphs into a sexy woman and beds this key politician while photographing the whole encounter. Once this pol is open to blackmail, Vought gets what it wants. This doughy character could be (and was) dispatched with the flick of Homelander's wrist; but Doppelganger, like Mystique from the X-Men, was the ultimate deep fake, and as such could have been the lynchpin in Vought's disinformation campaign.

9. Billy Butcher

Sure Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) isn't exactly a "Supe," as he'd say. In fact, he hates Supes. That's his whole thing. However, in Season 3 when he gets his hands on an experimental Vought version of Compound V that gives temporary powers, he turns out to be a total natural. Compound V hasn't been overexplained on Amazon's adaptation of the original comic, and that's for the best. What you can deduce is there's something like a genetic predisposition for response to Compound V. Very much like steroids, everyone who takes it will react differently. 

Ironically, Butcher is what you'd call in the bodybuilding world a "hyper-responder" to this performance-enhancing drug. He gulps down a single dose, and suddenly has laser eyes that can go toe-to-toe with Homelander. The mysterious substance also gives him super strength and apparent invulnerability to bullets, and even to a direct hit from Homelander's own laser eyes. More than that, Butcher is a ruthless "bastard," again, as he'd say. Power in the world of "The Boys" has a lot to do with playing the game, and this former government spook knows something about double-crossing and general treachery. He's got a good heart, maybe, but when it comes down to it, he's obsessed with vengeance for his wife, and will not hesitate to hurt anyone who gets in his way. His ultimate weakness may be in becoming the thing he hates.

8. A-Train

It's A-Train's (Jessie T. Usher) incredible powers that actually introduce us to the rules of "The Boys" universe when he runs straight through the body of Hughie Campbell's girlfriend, setting up the conflicts that define the series. It's not clear how strong A-Train is, exactly, but he can obviously take a high-speed collision without even feeling it. He's the world's fastest man and a member of The Seven, and that should be enough, but he's also one of the most morally flawed characters, and that's really his soft spot.  

A-Train is also a drug addict. He's hooked on a Vought product that's kind of like steroids for Supes. It makes him strong and confident and allows him to keep his fastest man title, but it's also taking a toll on his heart. By Season 3, he's using Uber instead of running because doctors have told him he can no longer tolerate his hypersonic exertion. His other big weakness is his vanity. When a fellow superhero starts committing acts of brutality in A-Train's mostly Black neighborhood, he'd rather initially use the controversy for a personal rebrand, than actually do anything about it. And when he does take a stand, it's too late. A-Train's abilities are astounding, but they're really no match for his selfishness.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

7. Black Noir

The stoic and silent Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) is a comic-relief character kind of like if superheroes were a thing in Buster Keaton's day. Even his name is a redundant joke. It's not until season 2 that we find out Noir, underneath that all-black costume is also a Black man, too. He was injured terribly and is covered with disfiguring scars. He might be ageless as well, given that he was a part of Soldier Boy's old Payback crew and seemingly hasn't lost a step. What Noir really does well, though, are stealthy assassinations. He's sort of like a super-strong ninja, with endless regenerative powers, and he seems to feel no pain. 

Alongside Queen Maeve, Black Noir is the show's elite martial artist. He's very nice with his custom knives, as he proves by easily defeating Kimiko. He's so effective and cold, that he even frightens other members of The Seven. Mostly though, Noir remains a mystery. Since he doesn't speak or even really react, he flies under the radar, and his true allegiance is often unclear. He acts like a loyal Vought stooge and Homelander thinks he is, but that might just be Homelander's narcissism projecting. Noir is the ultimate wildcard on "The Boys." 

6. Queen Maeve

Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) is oddly sidelined through long sections of "The Boys," but when she's in action, she's an absolute force. Obviously, she's modeled after Wonder Woman, but minus the whole Greco-Roman style Amazonian backstory or silly invisible flying jet. Maeve is bulletproof and strong enough to hip-check a semi-truck, but what really sets her apart is her ability in hand-to-hand combat, for which she trains relentlessly. Audiences learn Maeve was also once Homelander's main squeeze. They were the original power couple of The Seven, but she suffered at Homelander's hands. He's depraved in public, so one can only imagine what Maeve's "relationship" with this psychopathic superman was like in private.

Maeve's real weakness though is her disaffection, and often, indifference. She's just over it. She has a history of addiction, likely to deal with the lie she lived as Homelander's public other half. By Season 3, though, she's also using the fact her substance struggles are public knowledge to train in secret, letting everyone assume what she's been up to while actually leveling up, preparing for the inevitable clash with Homelander. Maeve has no eye lasers or finger lightning. Her power is basically just strength, but it's significant, and if she can get past her ennui, she might be the key to defeating her monstrously powerful ex.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

5. Stormfront

Stormfront's Supe abilities are impressive for sure. She shoots purple lightning out of her hands to devastating effect, but can also use that gift as a propulsion system. So effectively, she can fly right alongside her one-time beau, Homelander. She's also invulnerable to ballistics, and like her contemporary Soldier Boy, seemingly immortal. She was an actual World War 2-era German Nazi and hasn't aged a day since, at least if you don't count the corrosion of her soul. 

Stormfront's inexplicably good skin also gives her cover to rebrand as a Vought hero in Season 2, and team up with Homelander as a public couple. Like a lot of the worst people on "The Boys," she's got a real touch for manipulating the media. Secretly, of course, she wants to revive the Third Reich, and to that end, she does a great job of manipulating Homelander. He's not really interested in her cause, but it's not a turn-off for him either. Stormfront is probably the character who checks all the show's power player boxes: she's ruthless, physically powerful, deviously cunning, and great on camera. However, once her secret gets out, the public does turn on her. The biggest weakness a superhero can have in "The Boys” universe is this kind of skeleton in the closet.

4. Starlight

Starlight (Erin Moriarty) is a former pageant kid and would probably tell you herself that her powers are all a little weak. She's blond, beautiful, and struts around in a Vought-approved skin-tight white-leather jumpsuit, reluctantly playing her role as the Barbie of The Seven. Her actual abilities look great on stage but haven't proven that effective in combat. She mostly stuns enemies when her eyes glow as she starts radiating a percussive type of fireworks. She's also fairly strong, but only relative to ordinary mortals. It's clear Homelander could put his fist straight through her soft little body, and he often threatens as much.

However, Starlight is like the show's conscience. Her advantage is that she thinks differently than the nihilists and narcissists in her midst. Her Christian circuit background and faith in people keep her grounded. That brand has made her "America's Sweetheart" of The Seven, and that comes with an enormous social media following. As her conflict with Homelander comes to a head in Season 3, she's able to take her case directly to the people via Instagram. She's Taylor Swift, with magical powers, and (almost) everyone is Team Starlight. While Homelander has to get his talking points from others and go through the show's daft cable news equivalent to connect to his base, Starlight is really the only "The Boys" character with that influencer touch. Given how much these mostly hollow heroes care about public perception, that's definitely her greatest ability, and it goes a long way to keeping her alive.

3. Victoria Neuman

It's tempting to put Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) at number one. The sitting congresswoman oversees a federal (anti) superhero agency. Yet, she's also a secret Supe hiding in plain sight. She was raised by none other than Vought CEO Stan Edgar himself (Giancarlo Esposito), and has remained this diabolical man's loyal assassin for many years — at least until she bucks back. She's endowed the most unique and frightening power on the show. It's some kind of telekinetic ability that allows her to "pop" the heads of her enemies. As brains explode all around her, however, her real power is that, initially. nobody knows who exactly is responsible.

The reason she doesn't get the number spot one is a scene from Season 3 when her fragility gets exposed. She double-crosses a fellow Supe named Tony with some pretty impressive telekinetic powers of his own. The two have a close-run scrap but it seems clear Victoria has trouble doing the head-popping thing under duress. Eventually, she blows up Tony's hand in the fray. His head comes later in the scramble, but things definitely could've gone the other way. The other clue to her relative prowess is when she goes face-to-face with Homelander. Homelander is portrayed as apprehensive of Soldier Boy's abilities, but is so casual around Victoria, that despite some tension, it seems clear he doesn't rank her as a threat. But this woman is absolutely ruthless, and that might be a mistake.

2. Soldier Boy

The legend of Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) is built slowly in "The Boys." He's a World War 2-era hero long since presumed dead. Like all characters in this show, he's a parody of Marvel or DC archetypes, so this army brat is like a bizarro Captain America. He wears a leather helmet, carries around a shield, and exhibits tremendous physical strength. His abilities go far beyond Steve Rogers, though. His skin is bulletproof and his first fight with Homelander ends up in a draw. The real kicker, though, seems to come from his trauma. 

During the Cold War, Stan Edgar and Soldier Boy's abused team Payback offered him up to the Russians. They conducted heinous human experiments to test the limits of his strength. Given he emerges unblemished and ageless after decades of torture, it's safe to assume his powers are greater than anyone imagined. But there's something else; this trauma is triggering blackouts and a radioactive laser that blasts out of his chest with the fury of a thousand suns. It can level buildings and fry the Compound V out of other Supes. Soldier Boy might indeed be the most powerful character. He was Homelander before Homelander, and Vought's original marquee product. Soldier Boy is more than just a coke-snorting loose canon hellbent on revenge against those who double-crossed him, though. He's seemingly not always in control of his abilities, and that's likely his biggest weakness.

1. Homelander

When Homelander (Antony Starr) shacks up with the ageless Nazi Stormfront in Season 2, it's a very on-brand romance. Stormfront thinks this blond-haired demigod is the answer to all her fascist fantasies of an Aryan superman. Homelander isn't interested in all that, though. His infatuation with Stormfront is purely Freudian. The symbol he wants to be is a beacon of star-spangled heroism. His biggest desire is to be loved, with his American flag cape and Vought-approved talking points. He's the platonic distillation of what "The Boys" is about: He's an all-powerful superbeing, but an insecure narcissist rotting from the inside.

Superpower-wise, he's just Superman, of course, but instead of "Truth, justice, and the American way," his ideology is adulation for himself. Any perceived slight is his kryptonite. Starr as Homelander absolutely steals the show as he seethes at his inability to make his will as absolute as his strength. In the comics, Homelander's supremacy comes from his tolerance of more Compound V than any other experimental subject. "The Boys" isn't bogged down with that backstory, but his superiority is clear. Feeling his oats, Homelander consolidates power in Season 3, taking over Vought from the inside. He has many enemies, but he's also very hard to plot against given his super hearing and vision. His only worthy nemesis may end up being himself.