Who is Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy?
In the comics, Soldier Boy is the de facto leader of a superhero group called Payback, the original superhero group created by Vought International before The Seven. Like many characters in the comedy series, Soldier Boy is a name given to several iterations of characters.
The original Soldier Boy led a group of superheroes called The Avenging Squad, a precursor to what would become Payback. He and his Compound V-doped supersoldiers fought the Germans in World War II. Sadly, Soldier Boy unwittingly brought them back to a US Army camp that caused not only a massacre of Nazi soldiers, but also his fellow Avenging Squad members in addition to many US soldiers. Soldier Boy, injured by this attack, was eventually killed by George Mallory (in the series, Mallory was replaced by the character of Grace Mallory, former deputy director of the CIA and founder of The Boys).
The most recent iteration of Soldier Boy was much weaker and more timid than its WWII counterpart. His superhuman strength, speed, and shield handling are clearly a travesty of Captain America, but he lacks Cap’s heroic nature and leadership, instead of being the targets of frequent intimidation from members of his. Payback team.
Soldier Boy’s only desire is to finally get into The Seven one day, and his naivety leads him to be exploited by many modern superheroes. He’s even tricked into having sex with Homelander in exchange for a place in The Seven, which never happens.
Vought never disclosed the death of the original Soldier Boy, leading the general public to believe the modern iteration was the same WWII hero who never got old, in part due to his exposure to Compound V .
Soldier Boy in The Boys TV series
We know Soldier Boy will be played by Supernatural star Jensen Ackles, once again teaming up with The Boys showrunner (and Supernatural vet) Eric Kripke. According to Amazon, “Ackles will play Soldier Boy – the original superhero. After Soldier Boy fought in World War II, he became the first super celebrity and a mainstay of American culture for decades. ”
Soldier Boy has been conjured up throughout Seasons 1 and 2 of The Boys, most notably with a statue outside of Vought International that depicts the Supersoldier leading his forces and armed with a pistol instead of his signature shield. Stan Edgar (played by Giancarlo Esposito) briefly mentioned the existence of Soldier Boy during WWII when Frederick Vought was dosing soldiers with Compound V. There is also a Soldier Boy poster on the wall in the Mad Superfan’s room which opens the seventh episode of season 2.
“Through the history of supes, we can talk a little bit about the history of America and how we came to be in the current tense position we find ourselves in today. Soldier Boy gives us the opportunity to do it, ”Kripke said.
We don’t know much about Comment Soldier Boy will be counted in the overall story for Season 3; But Ackles’ casting leads us to believe that he may represent the original version of Soldier Boy rather than the weaker character who inherited the mantle, which doesn’t look exactly like the actor’s type.
The history of recovery
Payback is a group of superheroes in The Boys comics which is led by Soldier Boy and includes Stormfront, Tek Knight, Eagle the Archer, Crimson Countess, Mind-Droid, and Swatto. It is described as the “second most popular super team” and was created by Vought before the founding of The Seven. The Payback members are clearly a parody of Marvel’s Avengers, even using a similar naming scheme to describe their purpose.
“Payback, in our show world, was The Seven before The Seven. We will be exploring the history of this team and all of its members, ”Kripke explained when discussing plans for the upcoming third season.
In the comics, they were tasked by Vought to eliminate the boys, but all of them failed … miserably, most being killed at the hands of Billy Butcher. Garth Ennis, one of the comic’s co-creators, spoke to CBR during the comic’s original release about the team’s disappearance. “In the end, Payback has failed because they don’t know what they’re doing with the (considerable) resources they have,” he said.
Each of the Payback members also attempted to join The Seven at some point in the comic book series, with none of them ever succeeding.
Stormfront and the other Payback members
Besides Soldier Boy, the comic book version of Payback has six other members who parody every member of the Avengers in one way or another, much the same way The Seven takes after a twisted version of DC Justice League.
Arguably, the most powerful member of Payback is Stormfront, a Nazi survivor of WWII and the first successful recipient of Compound V. In the comics, Stormfront is male, but as we saw in the season 2 With the introduction of the female version of Aya Cash’s character, the source material is often changed on this show. Most notably, Stormfront is inducted into The Seven during Season 2, which has never happened in the comics.
Stormfront has the power to control lightning, much like Thor (with a pinch of Shazam!), And on the show, it was revealed that she was married to Vought founder Frederick Vought during the days of the Second. World War in Germany. They had a child together, but due to the side effects of Compound V, Stormfront outlived her husband and daughter.
Tek Knight is the only Payback superhero who isn’t imbued with superpowers. Instead, he’s a wealthy playboy with fancy armor that he uses to fight. Clearly drawing inspiration from Iron Man, Tek Knight also takes inspiration from Batman as he operates out of a cave and had a sidekick at one point (and a butler).
In the comics, Tek Knight had a brain tumor that caused him to become a sex addict, having sex with anyone and anyonechose that he could. The Boys comics had a notorious miniseries called “Herogasm” which is all you can expect. In a Reddit AMA thread, Kripke previously hinted that “Herogasm” could appear in Season 3 in one form or another.
Although Tek Knight did not make an appearance on the TV series, he was briefly mentioned. In season 1, Butcher finds out he saved an elderly woman, while season 2 hints that he had a confrontation with Shockwave on the cover of a newspaper.
Eagle the archer
Eagle the Archer is the team’s resident Hawkeye, equipped with bow and arrow and pinpoint accuracy. He’s actually the first Payback member to make an appearance in Season 2, saving The Deep from its downward spiral and recruiting it into the Collective Church.
After refusing to cut his mother off from his life, he is excommunicated from the church, its members being ordered not to associate with him in any capacity. Now that Eagle the Archer has been released, maybe it’s time to team up with the other members of Payback to seek… uh… refund?
Crimson Countess is inspired by Scarlet Witch with her red costume and matching cape. It has the ability to fly and can generate extreme amounts of heat. Although she did not make an official appearance on the series, her name was dropped in Season 1 when Starlight expected Crimson Countess to get the spot in The Seven over her. In the comics, she is in a relationship with Mind-Droid, a clear parallel to the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision.
Mind-Droid is actually not a robot, but a human in a robotic suit. He has telepathic abilities allowing him to read the minds of others. He also has a jetpack giving him the ability to fly. No mention has yet been made of Mind-Droid in the TV series.
Swatto is inspired by Ant-Man, given that he can manipulate his size and fly. He doesn’t speak, but communicates in a series of buzzes that only Mind-Droid can understand. He’s also not mentioned in the TV series so far.
How will they fit into season 3?
The Boys’ Season 3 is set to begin filming in 2021 and will see the titular group officially sanctioned by the CIA while continuing to fight against Vought’s machinations.
With The Seven falling apart and Homelander on a mission of revenge, it will be interesting to see how Kripke integrates Soldier Boy and Payback into the story. Will it be a series of flashbacks to give some context to Vought’s birth?
The bigger question is how many of the original Payback members are still alive. Since there is a statue commemorating Soldier Boy outside of Vought International, it’s possible that he’s no longer alive (at least in his top iteration). Could Ackles be embodied as a new and improved version of Soldier Boy, perhaps one that is made to keep Homelander in check?
Stormfront was seriously injured at the end of Season 2, but his status in Season 3 is unknown. And Eagle the Archer was alive and well for the last time we heard it. Since the comics feature Payback attempting to defeat the boys, it’s possible we’ll see this story arc play out somehow. It might give the boys a bit of distraction as the Fractured Seven reunite as a full team again. (Or who knows, maybe Soldier Boy will join The Seven, replacing Stormfront!)
For more on the boys, find out how Victoria Neuman’s mind-blowing reveal might turn things around in Season 3, and why the boys showrunner thinks the MCU is “dangerous” in the way he describes superheroes.
Matthew Adler is a writer of articles, news, insights and reviews for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewAdler and stream him on Twitch.