Anyone who has watched The Boys likely knows that the show has a pretty dim view of humanity. The show follows a group of humans who go up against superheroes they know are making the world a worse place. Along the way, we’ve also met a cast of characters that includes some problematic heroes, and some even more problematic villains.
Throughout, though, the hit Amazon Prime Video show has done a remarkable job of making all of its characters feel like real people, even inside a world that is often ridiculous. These characters rise above the rest, though, and that’s what earned them their spots on this list.
10. The Deep
Contrary to what his name might suggest, The Deep is not a particularly deep or smart character. What he is, though, is one of the show’s funniest characters every time they turn the spotlight on him.
He’s a beautiful dummy who does what he’s told and is constantly trying to convince himself that he’s not as terrible and vacuous as he actually is. The Deep sucks, but part of why we love to watch him is because he seems to be blissfully ignorant.
9. Annie January
The moral heart at the center of The Seven who ultimately realizes that she has to leave it behind, Annie’s journey on The Boys has been toward the realization that she has to follow her own moral compass at all costs.
Annie is one of only a few characters in The Boys who reminds you that there are some people in this universe who know good from bad. There are lines that she just won’t cross, even if others may think that the ends justify the means.
8. Hughie Campbell
Hughie is our avenue into this world, and his sudden realization that superheroes are not the great people he always believed them to be is a huge part of how we ultimately learn about how terrible every super really is.
What makes Hughie so essential to the fabric of the series, though, is that he is often unwilling to deal in any sort of absolutism. He knows that not all people are good, not all supers are bad, and above all else, what everyone should really be fighting for is a better world.
The Nazi we all love to hate, Stormfront was such a wonderful addition to the show’s second season because her ideology didn’t always align with the way she presented herself. She believed hateful things, but she was so charming that it was easy to fall under her spell.
It’s her influence that ultimately leads Homelander to understand how powerful he can be, but she was far more than just a catalyst for Homelander’s awakening. Stormfront knew how to sell all the horrible things she believed to the general public.
6. Stan Edgar
A man with no powers who understands that superpowers aren’t where power ends, Stan Edgar has always known how to exercise control over the people that could snap his neck without breaking a sweat.
A number of characters have tried to intimidate Homelander over the course of the series, but only Stan Edgar has really found a way to put the character in his place. Influence and wealth are a power all their own, and sometimes they trump any superhuman powers other characters on the show may have.
5. Black Noir
A totally silent presence who is nonetheless insanely powerful, Black Noir remains an enigma for much of his time on The Boys. By the end of his time on the show, though, we come to understand that the totally masked version of the character has retreated completely into himself.
He sees the world as populated by colorful cartoon characters, and processes every decision he has to make through them. He’s totally stunted, hiding behind a black mask that long ago ceased to hide a full person behind it.
4. Soldier Boy
Soldier Boy was introduced in part because Homelander needed a rival, but he turned into someone much more interesting than that. Terrible in a totally distinct way from Homelander, Soldier Boy is really all about old-fashioned masculine ideals, and he’s willing to do pretty much anything for the revenge he feels is owed to him.
He makes an uneasy ally for Billy and Hughie, but it’s with his help that the two of them come as close as they ever have to actually taking down Homelander.
3. Billy Butcher
Billy’s backstory, and his rivalry with Homelander, might seem a bit rote or cliché on paper, but Karl Urban is able to bring enough specificity to the role that he never feels like a stereotype. Billy’s cynicism and his wit are the tools he uses to survive, but underneath those things, he’s much softer than he seems to be.
Billy wants to make a better world, but he has no idea how to get there. Billy is a man who has been beaten down by the world but still wants to believe that hope is possible.
2. Kimiko Miyashiro
Kimiko is without a doubt the most interesting member of the Boys, in part because she is able to communicate so much through her silence. Like the rest of the Boys, Kimiko is not really a good person, but she is someone who aspires to a life that is better than the one she has.
It’s that self-loathing, and the way it manifests in every one of her relationships, that makes Kimiko such a compelling figure. She may not have the most incredible power set, but that doesn’t make her any less remarkable.
Undeniably the most fascinating character in The Boys, Homelander is an insanely powerful sociopath who has no idea how to relate to other people without exerting his power over them.
Over the show’s run thus far, Anthony Quinn has managed to find tons of corners and crevices inside the character that make him feel far more nuanced than some other depictions of similar characters on screen. Homelander can get away with anything, and that has made him something sort of like a child who can shoot lasers out of his eyes.