Movies - TV
Soldier Boy Is The Boys Season 3's Riff On An Infamous Marvel Character
Many of the super "heroes" on "The Boys" are analogs of popular ones owned by Marvel and DC, and Soldier Boy is one of the most blatant yet: a bald-faced parody of Captain America. Interestingly, this sort of deconstruction of Cap's character was already done in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's "The Ultimates," one of the more infamous comic runs of all time.
"The Ultimates," the answer to the Avengers, ran as two successive, 13-issue mini-series from 2002-2004 then 2005-2007, and the characters were more deconstructions of the Avengers than updates. Ultimate Captain America was a "might makes right" kind of guy, not to mention "old-fashioned" (read: casually bigoted).
Millar and Hitch's characterization of Cap was an indictment of America, past and present, and four years after its debut, a new comic would take it one step further. "The Boys" comic debuted in 2006, and the creators telegraphed their disdain for Captain America with Soldier Boy, who is portrayed as a pathetic character.
A character literally called "Captain America" will always have nationalistic undertones, and Season 3 of "The Boys" really leans into this while using the character to voice the repercussions of toxic masculinity. Ultimate Cap and Soldier Boy also show a realistic depiction of how a white man from the 1940s would react to present-day America.
Since Soldier Boy is so similar to Ultimate Cap, a question emerges: If this sort of deconstruction of Captain America has been done before, is "The Boys" just treading old ground? Perhaps, but while the satirical elements of Soldier Boy's character aren't new, but they have renewed relevance in the 2020s and "The Boys" is reaching a wider audience than "The Ultimates" ever did.