Caution: spoilers ahead for The Boys season 3
Here’s every detail revealed about Soldier Boy’s past, disappearance, and personal connections to both MM and Grace Mallory in The Boys season 3. Breadcrumbs teasing Soldier Boy’s debut were peppered throughout the past. The Boys seasons – a commemorative statue here; a Stan Edgar name-drop there. The man himself finally appears in the flesh for The Boys season 3’s “Barbary Coast.” Portrayed by Jensen Ackles, Soldier Boy is a warped character mutilation of Marvel’s Captain America, and derives from the original. The Boys comic books by Garth Ennis.
Ackles and Eric Kripke (The Boys showrunner) confirmed in advance that their Soldier Boy variant would break the character’s traditional mold. The comic pages feature several generations of Soldier Boy – the first a World War II hero who died in disgrace; the most recent a pant-wetting coward who leeches off his predecessor’s reputation. Amazon’s The Boys TV show takes the basic beats of Ennis’ original outline, but drags Soldier Boy in an entirely new direction.
Largely a mystery heading into season 3, The Boys‘”Barbary Coast” episode answers a slew of important questions about Soldier Boy’s past, but also confirms surprise connections to two Billy Butcher allies – MM and Grace Mallory. What does Soldier Boy’s first episode reveal about this legendary figure from the Vought + “classics” section?
Everything The Boys Already Revealed About Soldier Boy
Between Stan Edgar’s history lesson and Stormfront’s manifesto for global conquest, The Boys season 2 revealed how Frederick Vought created Compound-V as a tool for the Nazi party. He defected to the Allies when WWII began turning against Germany’s favor in 1944, and began churning out supes for his new American benefactors. Among the first successful products of these Stateside trials was Soldier Boy, who apparently cut down Nazi soldiers by the dozen on his way to becoming Vought’s top star. Soldier Boy mysteriously disappeared 40 years later, but how and why he vanished remains unknown. The Boys Presents: Diabolical confirmed a period of time passed between Soldier Boy’s exit and Homelander’s entrance, during which Black Noir was Vought’s leading supe. Once Homelander did finally appear, he came billed as Vought’s most promising creation since Soldier Boy.
We also know Soldier Boy was the leader of Payback – a “Seven before the Seven” superhero group that included Crimson Countess, Gunpowder, and a young Black Noir. More intriguingly, the all-American icon had some interaction with Stormfront while she was still known as “Liberty.”
Soldier Boy’s Early Life & Post-WWII Career
According to the Crimson Countess attraction at Voughtland, Soldier Boy was born in Philadelphia to a family of humble means before achieving fame as a World War II hero. Following Hitler’s defeat, the American savior turned his attention toward communism and assisted his government against the so-called “red menace. “However, young Stan Edgar drops an important detail in The Boys season 3’s “Barbary Coast” flashback. Prior to 1984, superheroes had not been involved with the US military for over thirty years. This means in spite of his World War II heroics, Soldier Boy has not stood on a genuine battlefield since fighting the Nazis.
We can probably assume Soldier Boy spent most of his career between the 1950s and 1980s leading Payback in much the same way Homelander currently leads the Seven. Crimson Countess was his lover (one of them, at least), while Gunpowder acted as Soldier Boy’s personal sidekick. He cavorted with presidents, celebrities, and … er, British royalty? The folder Queen Maeve shows to Butcher implies Soldier Boy helped bring down the Patriarca crime family (either that, or he was a member), while MM’s research confirms Soldier Boy assisted police quelling apparent disorder in Harlem.
Mallory’s Soldier Boy Connection Explained
Something changed in 1984. A young and ambitious Stan Edgar spearheaded a new push for supe involvement in US military operations, and Soldier Boy’s Payback team was selected for a trial in Nicaragua. Riffing on real-world history, Grace Mallory explains how the US government was supporting Contra rebels against the Russian-backed Sandinista in Operation Charly, secretly funded by smuggling cocaine back onto US soil. As a young CIA case officer, Grace Mallory was heading up this morally diabolical scheme.
Crusading to get supes into the military by any means necessary, Edgar brought Payback over to lend Mallory’s unit some unwanted assistance. Borrowing liberally from Payback’s WWII backstory in The Boys‘comic series, Swatto gives away the camp’s position by taking an unauthorized flight (Soldier Boy himself was responsible in the comics), and a veritable massacre follows.
Based on the Boys’ reactions to this tale, Mallory never told a soul about her experience in Nicaragua, but it is impossible to overstate the importance of this landmark event because Mallory’s Payback experience instigated the genesis of Butcher’s team. Referring to supes as “undisciplined dipsh * ts“Grace obviously never held much love for folk with powers, but neither does the young agent hate them enough to recruit a team of anti-Vought fighters and dedicate her life to bringing the company down. The Nicaragua bloodbath inspired Grace to go full- tilt against superheroes and form the Boys.
Why Soldier Boy Disappeared In The Boys (& How Vought Covered It Up)
Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher helpfully recounts the version of Soldier Boy’s death approved for public consumption. Official Vought records state Soldier Boy was attempting to prevent a nuclear reactor meltdown in Ohio, but died buried beneath the rubble. This story has somehow been spun into “Soldier Boy saved the world.” Needless to say, that’s not what really happened.
The Sandinista attack on Mallory’s camp included Russian special forces, and according to Vought’s top secret records (provided to Billy Butcher by Queen Maeve), they turned up packing a mysterious weapon that killed the near-invulnerable Soldier Boy. Annoyingly for Vought, the Russian soldiers then took Soldier Boy’s corpse with them, preventing confirmation of his demise and stopping Vought learning anything about the weapon used against him. Since Soldier Boy’s disappearance from the public eye in 1984, therefore, he’s actually been MIA in Russia and presumed dead by his native country.
Some vital pieces of the puzzle remain missing. For starters, why did Russia take Soldier Boy? The most obvious answer is to remove America’s greatest military asset, and simultaneously develop the means to manufacture supes of their own. Second on the agenda is discerning what “weapon” the Russians deployed against Soldier Boy. Thanks to The Boys season 3’s trailer, audiences already know he’s alive in a lab somewhere, meaning whatever was used did not work. Trailer footage also shows Soldier Boy expelling bright bursts of red energy, which isn’t a power he possessed before being abducted. A side effect of Russian experimentation, perhaps? The Soviets might not even have a weapon, of course. Soldier Boy getting captured by Russian soldiers who emerge from nowhere feels highly conspicuous. Did America’s favorite supe secretly make a deal with the Soviets, turning Nicaragua into one big setup?
Why MM Hates Soldier Boy In The Boys
The Boys season 2 started revealing the source of MM’s hatred towards supe-kind. His father, Mr. Milk, was a lawyer who spent every waking hour attempting to defeat Vought through the courts, fighting an impossible battle that makes David vs. Goliath look comparatively even. Ultimately, that stress would drive Mr. Milk away from his son and toward an early grave, fueling MM’s hatred of Vought and its super-powered Compound-V celebrities. The Boys season 2 never revealed the reason MM’s father obsessed over Vought so fiercely, but season 3 neatly fills that tragic gap.
MM admits to Hughie that Soldier Boy “killed [his] family“while a newspaper clipping references an incident where Soldier Boy apprehended a gang of car thieves and a Harlem family got caught in the crossfire. Putting these pieces together, it seems MM’s loved ones (mother and siblings, perhaps?) were these collateral victims. , giving Marvin a very similar backstory to Hughie and Butcher, where deadly supe recklessness was covered up at a corporate level. We know MM’s father then tried and failed to bring justice, and died because of the pressure – yet another family member Soldier Boy stole from him. Soldier Boy’s heavy-handed philosophy toward crime-fighting is corroborated by Gunpowder, who accuses his old mentor of violent hazing.
Since he disappeared in 1984, Soldier Boy would’ve been long dead by the time MM was old enough to do something about it. His situation is not quite the same as Butcher and Hughie, whose personal nemeses are both still active Seven members in The Boys. Marvin’s reason for fighting supes was perhaps less about vengeance, and more about stopping his sad backstory happening to another child, but when Butcher brings news that Soldier Boy did not die in Ohio, his words light a fire under MM, making him more dangerous than ever before in The Boys season 3.
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The Boys continues Friday on Prime Video.
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