The Boys Declassified – Episode 1
The Boys Declassified will take each episode of the Amazon Prime Series (watch it by clicking here) and put it under a microscope, dissecting it in detail, annotating the changes made from the original comics and pointing out any worthwhile trivia or Easter eggs we might find! Read about it all below!
For parlance, any reference to “The series” means the television series, instances referencing the comic book series will note as such.
Come back and read after you’ve watched the episode because we’re talking full spoilers for the TV series; spoilers for the comic books will be noted and must be highlighted to be read. Like this, HIGHLIGHT SPOILERS: Just an example! Keep reading!
“The Name of the Game”
The title of the episode is lifted directly from the comics, with the first two issues of the series given the title and the first volume of the comics using it as well.
The episode begins with a sendup of Marvel Studios in the form of Vought Studios, something that’s brand new for the series. Worth noting that the artwork shown that composes the mosaic appears to be brand new art by series artist Darick Robertson.
The heroes seen on screen here are The Seven, the A-List heroes from Vought and an analog of the Justice League. The team consists of Homelander, a Superman-type character; Black Noir, a kind-of Batman character (though a more direct Batman riff exists elsewhere); Queen Maeve, a Wonder Woman riff; A-Train, a take on The Flash; The Deep, an Aquaman stand-in; The Lamplighter, a Green Lantern riff, and Translucent, a character that’s half original and part of a character from the comics. In the books, the other member of the team is “Jack from Jupiter,” a riff on the Martian Manhunter character. The only trait that Translucent and Jack share is their impenetrable skin, but the invisibility (and Translucent’s place in the story) are new.
There are some distinct changes already for Hughie in the series, as the character is Scottish in the comics. The electronics job is new as well, but his girlfriend robin and her eventual demise is pretty similar to how it goes down in the books (which took place at a carnival instead of on the street). Overall though, the bones of the Hughie character are all there, Jack Quaid does a great job of filling in that every man role.
The perpetrator of Robin’s demise is a riff on the Wally West version of The Flash and his costume in the series is pretty spot on to how it’s drawn in the comics. A-Train was originally drawn as white in the series and the casting of Jesse Usher is perhaps a nod to the OTHER Wally West version of The Flash who is black (and had not appeared in the pages of DC’s comics until well after The Boys comics were completed). It also perhaps just a coincidence.
Starlight is a riff on the DC superhero Stargirl, sans staff. Annie’s audition for The Seven is a new addition for the series, as she’s already been promoted into the group when the comics begin. All the heroes are already part of Vought’s groups in the comics, so her promotion is an internal matter rather than a “Talent Search” event.
Easter egg alert: While lamenting how she probably didn’t get the job, Annie makrs a reference to the hero “Crimson Countess” from the comics who is a riff on the Scarlet Witch.
In the original comics Hughie was drawn to look just like Simon Pegg, so him playing Hughie’s dad is a hilarious meta-reference.
A-Train’s public apology
Didn’t happen in the comics.
Vought’s restitution offer
Vought offering Hughie money following Robin’s death is right out of the books, though with fewer lawyers trying to secure the deal in the series. Hughie’s imagination of telling them off is pretty in character, but something new. In the comics he flat out turns them down from the beginning, a slight deviation in the series.
Ashley the publicist
A new character for the series but whose presence is certainly in line with the overall lampooning of corporate and entertainment culture.
Elisabeth Shue plays one of the heads of Vought International (Vought American in the comics), a gender-swapped version of the character from the books. In the original comics, James Stillwell is one of the heads of Vought and is more of an American Psycho type sociopath rather than a no-nonsense business person as seen in the series.
Easter Egg alert: Stillwell mentions their latest movie, G-Men: World War, a reference to both the “Captain America: Civil War” feature film and the X-Men analog characters from The Boys comics, the G-Men. God I hope they show up in the second season.
The Deep is an Aquaman riff in The Boys and he gets a major facelift in the series. In the comics The Deep’s costume is akin to an old-timey diving suit, almost like a Big Daddy from Bioshock, in the series he’s very clearly classic Aquaman inspired.
The Deep makes reference to Lamplighter’s departure from The Seven, whose absence is just as quickly addressed when the comics start (Highlight for Spoiler: The Lamplighter’s absence is addressed in the series, he gets taken out by The Boys when The Seven offer him up following the incident with Mallory’s grandchildren).
Annie “joins” The Seven
The Deep removing his pants and presenting himself to Annie is directly from the comics, however in the books it’s A-Train, Homelander, and Black Noir that give her this disgusting task instead. The shot of him without pants is almost directly from the books.
Karl Urban plays Billy in the series, and right away there are some cosmetic differences in the series. Butcher has a fully beard in the series and wears a Hawaiian shirt, two distinct changes from the comics, but welcome ones! Urban also crushes it in the role but you didn’t need me to tell you that. His speech to Hughie is pretty spot on to how he approaches him in the comic series, not exact, but very similar!
Easter Egg alert: In the background of Billy’s speech to Hughie an ad can be seen for “Believe!” a Christian-theme festival from the comic series.
The superhero bar
This location (later revealed to be named “Secret Identity”) is new for the series, but the debauchery taking place inside is pretty similar to events that happen in The Boys Volume 5: Herogasm, including the flying superhero sex and the tiny hero that leaps inside a woman (not directly depicted in the comics, but implied). The stretchy character Ezekiel is a new one, though a Mr. Fantastic like character does exist in the comics (Reacher Dick of Fantastico).
“Homelander’s a saint”
Butcher’s assertion to Hughie that he has no dirt on Homelander isn’t exactly true, and it’s a change from the books where Billy fully reveals why he hates Homelander within the first five issues of the comics.
The Mayor of Baltimore attempts to blackmail Madelyn by referencing Compound V, something she plays dumb about.
Easter egg: Nubian Prince is a clear Black Panther riff, a new hero that isn’t mentioned in the comics.
Annie in the park
The meeting of Annie and Hughie in the park is ripped directly from the pages of the comics. The pair even make a habit of it in the source material, so this scene is like cake for readers.
In the comics The Seven live inside an orbiting ship that floats over New York, a riff on the Justice League’s Watchtower. In the series it’s Seven Tower, more in line with Avengers tower. The entire plot thread of Hughie planting a bug inside their HQ is an invention for the series since they have a source putting bugs in for them in the comics, though I won’t reveal the circumstances of that.
Easter Egg alert: After spotting some toys in the backseat, Hughie asks Butcher if he has a dog. Though not present, Billy famously has a sidekick bulldog in the comics named “Terror.”
“Allowing superheroes into National Defense?”
On a television a reporter says this, setting up the storyline for the entire series which is one of the many plot threads throughout the comics.
Translucent follows Hughie and fights Butcher
As I said before, Translucent is a mostly original character for the series and Hughie’s job at the electronics store is all new so this scene is totally original for the series. The one piece that is directly from the comics is Billy carrying the crowbar, one of his trademark weapons. Gotta say though, the invisible fight scene here is one of my favorite things I’ve seen in a superhero TV show ever. Very clever and in keeping with The Boys comics.
The sequence of Homelander downing the Mayor’s plane isn’t from the comics, but similar instances do happen in the books.