The Boys: Hughie’s Powers in the Comics, Explained

The Boys: Hughie's Powers in the Comics, Explained

Hughie (Jack Quaid) does not have powers in the Amazon version of The Boys, but his comics counterpart is unwillingly enhanced with Compound V.

In the Amazon Prime series The Boys, Hughie Campbell (Jack Quaid), is armed only with his wits, but in the comics, Hughie has superpowers of his own, which he might finally get in The Boys season 3. As a member of The Boys’ eponymous team, Wee Hughie keeps twisted heroes in check. In the TV series, he does this only using his smarts and engineering skills he acquired from working in an electronics store. In his first mission with The Boys, he figures out the invisible supe Translucent’s weakness to electricity and successfully blocks the signal of the tracking chip that would alert other Supes of his location. He is collaborative and able to think on his feet in the life-threatening situations The Boys often find themselves in, but is very much still an average person.


In Garth Ennis’ original comics, however, Hughie and The Boys have an entirely different strategy. Instead of relying only on weapons and carefully thought-out strategies, The Boys enhance themselves to be able to take on Supes in hand-to-hand combat. Billy Butcher, the team’s founder, injects each member with Compound V, the drug responsible for the creation of the Supes. Compound V gives The Boys superhuman abilities to give them a fighting chance even against the Seven, a dark parody of the Justice League made up of the most powerful Supes around. Hughie joins the team after his girlfriend Robin was mistakenly killed by A-Train, a member of the Seven with super-speed, but is unaware of The Boys’ use of Compound V.

Related: What Time The Boys Season 3 Releases On Prime Video

On his first mission with The Boys in the comics, Hughie is tasked with monitoring the depraved secret activities of the Teenage Kix, a young group of superheroes, and is accompanied by Billy Butcher. While he snaps incriminating photos of the Kix, Butcher surprises Hughie with a syringe full of Compound V to his neck. He is angered by the nonconsensual injection, but Butcher explains that its effects — though permanent — will be necessary in his work. He soon starts to feel V’s impacts, as it grants him enhanced strength and durability.

Hughie’s Comic Powers Explained

The Boys #4 Cover Hughie Injected With Compound V

Hughie, The Boys’ protagonist, initially struggles with his new abilities. On top of having superpowers forced upon him, he finds them hard to control. When the Teenage Kix find out about The Boys’ blackmail, they confront Butcher and company in the street. In the ensuing fight, Hughie punches Kix member Blarney Cock directly through his chest, accidentally killing him. He is horrified by what he’s done, but Hughie becomes hardened throughout the series and participates in many more brawls. Thanks to his enhanced durability, he usually walks out with just a few scratches.

Despite his powers, Hughie’s greatest asset is still his mind. His sharp wits and analytical thinking allow him to solve problems his teammates are unable to. He assists The Boys with his detective skills, and played a critical role in finding out that Swingwing, a parody of Nightwing, was behind a homophobic murder. Hughie is also the moral core of The Boys, bringing a sense of compassion and teamwork that allows the team to be more efficient.

Although the Amazon version of The Boys didn’t initially give Hughie, or any of his teammates, superpowers, the series still captures the character’s spirit. Hughie is one of the most grounded, “normal” members of The Boys, and provides an excellent foil to the more unhinged personalities on the show. In fact, Hughie and The Boys may have been better off without Compound V so far, as it ensures that they will not sink to the Supes’ level of depravity. This all changes with the advent of The Boys season 3, however.

Related: The Boys: What Hughie’s Season 3 Story With Neuman Means For Butcher

Season 3 Sets Up The Boys To Get Powers – Will Hughie Get His?

Butcher Using His Powers in The Boys Season 3

The trailer for The Boys season 3 revealed plenty of new and shocking information when it dropped ahead of the season premiere, and one of the biggest bombshells was that Amazon’s Boys are now officially using Compound V to fight supes. While this was a measure the team did from the very beginning in The Boys comics, it’s framed in the show as a last resort, as trying to take supes down the legal way doesn’t seem to work. Butcher is shown with Homelander-like laser vision as he lays waste to his enemies, and he utters the line “I leveled the f**king playing field.” This is very similar to the way The Boys operate in Garth Ennis’s comic books, but with one key difference: the diluted Compound V that The Boys take in the comics is permanent, whereas the one in the show only works for 24 hours.

Now that Butcher has gotten powers, it’s quite possible that Hughie will also acquire them in The Boys season 3. He admits in recent footage that it’s probably time to do things Butcher’s way, which would entail using any means necessary to fight supes – even dangerous and morally questionable ones. With Butcher dosing up on Compound V, then, Hughie and the rest may follow suit. At the same time, however, as Mother’s Milk points out, “the whole point of what we do is that no one should have that kind of power.” As the moral compass of The Boys, Hughie might choose to avoid taking Compound V so he doesn’t become consumed by it. Given The Boys’ propensity for wholeheartedly stamping on moral compasses, though, the jury’s still out.

Next: Will Other The Boys Members Get Powers (& What Will They Be)?

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About The Author

Kristen Abernathy
(58 Articles Published)

Kristen Abernathy is a Movies and TV Features writer at Screen Rant. She is a current third year Biology student at the University of California, Los Angeles who loves science fiction as much as real science. When she isn’t studying, she’s reading comics, watching movies, and writing her own short stories.

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