Butcher's Father Is Why He Wants to Kill ALL Supes (Not Just Homelander)

Warning: Contains spoilers for The Boys by Dynamite Comics

In The Boys, the deep-rooted hatred that Billy Butcher feels towards Homelander is the apparent reason why he wants to kill all Supes in the world. However, the spinoff miniseries that takes a look at Billy's past shows that the Supes are nothing more than proxies for the real object of Billy's hatred: his violent and abusive father.

In The Boys, the team led by Billy Butcher is a CIA-sponsored unit that has the job to watch over Supes, the super-powered individuals who act like heroes or villains but are actually nothing more than spoiled and depraved celebrities. At several points in the series is clear that Butcher's own personal mission goes way beyond that. He hates Supes, even the most innocuous ones, and feels real pleasure when he can inflict them pain and suffering. The true depths of Billy's rage and madness become clear in the series finale, when it is revealed that he plans to kill every person in the world who has traces of Compound V in them, the substance that is the secret source of superpowers, including his own friends. In theory, Butcher's personal crusade is born from the traumatic experience of having his wife raped by Homelander and then killed by the super-powered fetus in her womb.

Related: The Boys' Version of Iron Man Was No Match For Butcher's Secret Weapon

In The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the creators of The Boys explore Butcher's past, giving readers meaningful insight into the motivations of the character. Billy was raised in London's East End by a caring but fragile mother and an abusive father, who used violence both inside and outside his home. Eventually, things get so bad that Butcher intends to kill his father but is talked out of it by his brother, who points out it would break their mother's heart. Billy joins the army and becomes as violent as his father, despite hating him with all his heart. His life changes when he meets his future wife Becky, who makes Butcher's good side come out and eventually helps persuade his mother to leave her husband. This does not mean, however, that Billy is able to completely move on from his tainted relationship with his father. He will always regret not "taking him on" years before and sparing his family years of abuse, something that his father (now old and crippled by strokes) expressly says, mocking Billy for his lack of guts.

Becky's presence is able to quell Butcher's rage and regret but when she is killed by Homelander (apparently), all these feelings are transferred not just towards that hero, but all Supes. Butcher spent his youth loathing the person who had unassailable power in his family and community, and he spends the rest of his life lashing out at proxies for that unearned authority, first the teachers, then his army commanders, and finally the Supes. In Billy's view, the powerful will always disdain the powerless and will come to brutalize them: "When you know you scare someone, you start to think they're s***," he says. With this logic in place, his excessive hatred for Supes makes a lot more sense: he believes that the power Compound V represents must corrupt the bearer, and the depths of depravity he witnesses from the Supes as a member of The Boys confirm that.

The saddest thing is that, after Becky's death, Butcher cannot avoid giving in to his worst instincts and becoming like his father, a man who uses violence and intimidation to assert his presence in the world. He is fully aware of this but does nothing to stop what is ultimately an elaborate act of suicide. The spinoff suggests that every Supe Billy harms or kills is a proxy for his father, explaining why his hatred for all of them, not just Homelander, is so absolute that, by the end of The Boys, Butcher has accepted killing his friends as the price of his crusade.

Next: How Punisher's Darkest Rampage Inspired The Boys



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