On the Amazon Prime original The Boys, a mystery forms around the origins of Compound V. Originally thought to simply be a performance-enhancer for supers like A-Train, it’s later revealed to be the substance that gives normal humans powers. While the origins and usage differ slightly from the comics to the tv show, it’s overall the same substance. The superhero with the highest recorded dosage of Compound V is Homelander, The Boys’ version of Superman.
Origins of Compound V
In the comics, the originator of Compound V is a scientist named John Vogelbaum, who’s a Jewish scientist forced to help Nazi Germany in the comics. Created in the 1930s, the drug was imperfect when introduced to subjects with a notable side effect being that the drug turned poop blue. Dr. Vogelbaum leaves Nazi Germany for the United States in 1938 Later, Vought-American takes Dr. Vogelbaum and forces him to manufacture more Compound V.
This leads to the creation of new superheroes such as the Seven. After a while, the CIA kidnaps Dr. Vogelbaum and has him make a temporary version and perfected version of the drug for The Boys. Over the course of the comic series, Compound V is introduced in a few different forms such as a powder drug and liquid serum.
In the television show, the Nazi origins of the drug aren’t mentioned. Instead, it’s a top-secret program ran by Vought International. They expose infants to the drug in hopes they react to it with amazing superpowers allowing them to become superheroes. Dr. Vogelbaum does appear, although it seems like he created Compound V for Vought International. He was also behind the creation and “raising” of Homelander, essentially acting as a psuedo-father for him.
Effects on Humans
In the comic series, Compound V can be given to a normal human and give them various superhuman abilities. The common abilities appear to be enhanced strength, agility, and durability. Compound V can have unexpected side effects for those that don’t receive superhuman abilities. These effects include blue poop, cancer, heart disease, and brain damage. The superhuman effects people receive from regular doses of Compound V appear to be random.
The perfected version of Compound V appears to give people a constant combination of superhuman strength, durability, and agility. Flight is sometimes considered a common power as well. A version of Compound V given to The Boys to help them fight superhumans provided them enhanced their strength by a multiplier of 50 along with enhancing their durability. A powder version for temporary powers has a similar effect, giving humans superhuman durability.
Effects on Superhumans
When used by superhumans, as shown on the show, supers receive a boost in their powers but also become addicted to the drug. For characters such as A-Train, this pushes the max speed he can run to greater levels and increases his healing factor. When PopClaw used Compound V, she gains greater levels of super-strength and endurance. The biggest side effects are paranoia and his powers becoming unstable. This is the reason he couldn’t stop running even with Robin Ward (Hughie’s girlfriend) in his path. Other side effects include bone density problems and heart attacks.
The writers of The Boys have stated in interviews that their only magic-like insertion into the show is Compound V, so hopefully, more background on the drug is shown in season 2. It’ll also be interesting to see if Compound V is introduced in a new form with different abilities.
Did you enjoy season 1 of The Boys? Let us know your thoughts on the show and Compound V’s potential usage in season 2 in the comments!