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The Boys: Black Noir Exposed His Master Plan to Hughie with Two Words

The Boys: Black Noir Exposed His Master Plan to Hughie with Two Words

Black Noir doesn’t say much in The Boys, but the term he uses to address Hughie exposes his entire endgame when understood in retrospect.

Over the course of The Boys, Black Noir barely speaks a word, hiding his face and voice in favor of the final reveal that he’s a clone of Homelander planted on the Seven to kill him if he gets out of control. However, the seeming Batman parody does have a few lines, and a relatively early piece of dialogue is perhaps the biggest clue to his true purpose, even though it made absolutely zero sense at the time.

The Boys are a black-ops team charged with keeping powerful Supes in line through blackmail and intimidation. Much of their juiciest information is on the Homelander, an unkillable ‘evil Superman’ whose extracurricular activities reveal him to be a bloodthirsty psychopath. Mysterious photographs of Homelander killing innocent people give the Boys some measure of control over him, forcing a stalemate between the powerful Supe and Billy Butcher’s team, however even with the resources of the CIA, none of them actually know where the photographs came from.

In The Boys #65 – from Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, John McCrea and Keith Burns – fans discover the truth. First, the photos were supplied by Black Noir, who has been working behind the scenes to try and provoke Homelander into destroying his public image. Second, the photos aren’t actually of Homelander, but rather of the identical Black Noir wearing his costume. It’s a dark reveal that clears up many dangling plot threads in the series – especially the two words Black Noir says to Hughie during the events of the bacchanalian Herogasm.

The Boys: Black Noir Exposed His Master Plan to Hughie with Two Words
The Boys: Black Noir Exposed His Master Plan to Hughie with Two Words

In The Boys: Herogasm #3 (from Ennis, McCrea, and Burns), the Boys stake out an annual superhero convention looking for dirt on the attendees. Among the team is Hughie Campbell, who is working directly with Butcher. Unfortunately, Hughie is discovered by Black Noir, who sexually assaults him and addresses him as “Good soldier.” The attack is one of the series’ most bizarre moments, as both Black Noir’s words and his decision not to warn the other Supes of the spies in their midst make no sense. Of course, once it’s revealed that Black Noir is trying to force a conflict between the Boys and Homelander, his meaning becomes clear.

Twisted as he is, Black Noir genuinely sees Hughie as an agent of his larger agenda. The Boys are the people he believes can expose Homelander, finally allowing him to kill the target he’s been obsessing over for his entire life. In spying on the Supes and collecting blackmail material, the Boys are indeed Black Noir’s soldiers, and their pressure does help push Homelander too far. Ultimately, Black Noir kills him shortly after he enacts a coup of the United States, fulfilling his life’s dream shortly before he’s killed by Butcher.

Black Noir referring to Hughie as “Good soldier” was a blatant declaration that he considered the Boys to be on his side, and yet despite the question of the photos and his mysterious powers and identity, few guessed the two were connected. While The Boys: Herogasm was advertised as one of the most controversial comic stories ever told, it used that excess to hide a major clue to the story’s larger mystery, as Black Noir’s words to Hughie made zero sense at the time despite being a surprisingly literal communication of his endgame.

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