Originating from London's East End, Butcher's full name is William Butcher, although he usually goes by the nickname Billy. He is described as talking like Michael Caine. At the beginning of the series, he works to reassemble the old team with a new member, Wee Hughie, filling in for a former member named Mallory. He also chose Hughie because his wife and Hughie's girlfriend were killed by superheroes and he always wanted a little brother. He is physically large and incredibly violent, and, like all of The Boys, possesses super strength. A bulldog named Terror is his constant companion. He has trained Terror to fornicate on command.
The cause of his campaign against superheroes, according to him, stems from the rape and death of his wife, Becky. Butcher was a Royal Marine, who woke up to find his wife disemboweled on their bed, with her prematurely born, super-powered child crawling out of her. After it attacked Butcher with its heat vision and permanently scarring his arm, he killed it by beating it to death with a lampstand. After reading Becky's diary he learned the identity of his wife's rapist, who is described as "one of the big boys". Butcher takes the job of leading a team called the “The Boys” that are charged with watching and keeping the heroes in line and bringing them down when they step over the line. They can use any force necessary, but unluckily for the heroes, Butcher usually only uses brutal and often deadly force.
Butchers' charismatic and sociable nature, tend to mask his calculating and ruthless mind. Mothers Milk has described Butcher as a man whose every word is calculated. One strength attributed to him is that he holds his tongue, and keeps his secrets to himself. The Butcher is also shaped by his childhood, and his father, whom he despised, who would regularly physically beat his mother. As a result Butcher also dislikes being referred to as Mister Butcher, that name invoking thoughts of his father. The Butcher is the leader of the Boys team, that consists of himself, Mothers Milk, The Female, The Frenchman, and new recruit Hughie Campbell.
The Butcher is a Dynamite Entertainment character created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson. He first appears in the series The Boys #1 released in 2006. Ennis describes the character "Butcher's desire for revenge is what drives and consumes him, 100%," Robertson, describing bringing to life the Butcher's visual look "'A dark, cruel smile of malicious intent. He should look knowing, like he can see right into us, know our fear. A glint in the eye. An amused look.'" Not much of his background was revealed until the 2011 mini-series, The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker. Garth Ennis has cited The Butcher as being his favorite character he has created so far. Butcher was originally going to be called Savage.
Butcher is a particularly brutal, imposing, and violent character, but one that is also characterized as being unusually bright, sociable, loyal, methodical, and with a refined code of honor and a streak of charisma. The Boys as a project and selling point was intended by writer Garth Ennis to "out-Preacher Preacher" typically referring to the excess violence and sexual overtones of both series. The use of Butcher as a character is more than quick to take advantage of that sentiment with his ruthless nature. His character marked by personal tragedy, he is typified by revenge. Another defining characteristic of Butcher is his quintessential English nature and humor. More than just an accent Butcher's cockney hints at his toughness and everyman qualities. Throughout the course of The Boys storyline Butcher's characterization whilst consistent throws a few curves now and then subverting some of his other traditional character traits. Despite his use of words usually considered derogatory to homosexuals Butcher himself is very open-minded and not the least bit concerned with or around gay people. Butcher also abstains from alcohol.
Major Story Arcs
The Name of the Game
Butcher is in Washington DC to meet with the director of the CIA, Susan L. Rayner. He has some inside knowledge on the revival of an anti-superpowers superhumans team, and he has taken it upon himself to nominate himself and his services. Butcher's confident quick-talking is more than enough to get him what he wants and he sets about assembling his team of which he already has four members in mind. He however requires more person to fill his roster, to replace a former member of his team Mallory, who won't be returning. Butcher manages to learn of one Hughie Campbell, a regular, ordinary guy who suffered a terrible and tragic loss when the super-powered superhero A-Train killed his girlfriend while apprehending a criminal. Butcher noting that Hughie didn't care for monetary compensation sought him out. After endearing himself to a still mourning Hughie with his lovable bulldog Terror, Butcher talks to Hughie more candidly about his recent loss and superheroes and his team. Butcher and Hughie would exchange words and ideas, with Butcher talking about CIA involvement and the Company before Hughie realizes that Butcher is asking him to join the team. Reflecting on what happened to his girlfriend, Hughie agrees. Butcher continues bringing the rest of his team together, rekindling his friendship with Mothers Milk and tracking down the Frenchman and the Female.
Butcher introduces Hughie to the rest of the Boys for the first time, quickly and succinctly before explaining to the team the differences in how the team is run now. They are operating under Presidential directive. They don't have to worry about the budget or about being too violent. After the group orders some Pizza, Butcher reveals plans for the first group of superheroes they are going to target. The Teenage Kix. The Boys are to operate a surveillance sting on the teenage group of superheroes, so they can subsequently blackmail them threatening to reveal their more immoral and unethical actions to the public. Butcher explains how the Kix are the popular, alternative, edgy teenage superhero team, in contrast to the conservative teenage superhero team the Young Americans. Thus he explains why they make a good target to start off with also revealing to Hughie that A-Train started off with the Kix. Butcher pulls in Hughie to work with him after the group splits up. Butcher exposes Hughie to his first taste of superhero debauchery, as he watches from binoculars the Teenage Kix in a brothel and doing drugs. Butcher also gets incriminating photos of Big Game and Jetstreak being pleasured by a movie actress, PopClaw practicing self-mutilation, Blarney Cock and Whack Job stealing from a hospital and Shout Out and Big Game engaging in sex. With more than enough material and after rigging their headquarters to listen in, Butcher sends the various photos and videos to the Kix. Butcher would also inject Hughie with Compound V which would cause tension between the two. Butcher would apologize and explain his actions to Hughie who would accept his reasoning. The two along with the rest of the Boys would eavesdrop on the Teenage Nix panicking when they learn that someone has been spying on them and has threatened them with making their misdeeds and raunchy behavior public.
Confrontation with Teenage Kix
Homelander of the Seven would recognize Butcher's signature when Shout Out of the Teenage Kix holds a press conference announcing he is a gay superhero and retiring from Teenage Kix to dissociate them from the scandal. Shout Out was forced to do so as per Butcher's blackmail commands. Homelander recognizing this as a sign that Butcher was active again would quietly alert the Teenage Kix as to who was responsible. The teenage superheroes would attempt to corner Butcher and the Boys at night on an empty street. The Teenage Kix are ill-prepared and clueless as to who the Boys and Butcher are and as such beaten quite brutally. Hughie struggles a bit dealing with Barney Cock but then in the heat of battle accidentally kills him, courtesy of his new super-strength granted by being injected with Compound V. Butcher would be especially aggravated by Shout Outs attempt to burn him with electricity ripping the thumbs of his very hands. A large funeral would be held for Blarney and he would be mourned as a hero. Butcher would also reveal to Hughie that he wants him to stay with the Boys, despite the incident with Blarney because he always wanted a little brother. Butcher would go on to introduce Wee Hughie to the Legend. The authority on superheroes. He has a favor to ask of Butcher, to which Butcher accepts.
The Legend had asked Butcher to take on a case involving his sister's grandson and a suicide. The case might be of interest to Butcher because it involves a superhero, Swingwing, former sidekick to Tek Knight. Butcher and Hughie go over police reports and various files. Butcher establishes that the deceased was homosexual, however, Hughie takes issue with some of his language and terms, thinking Hughie's language unnecessary. However, when they realize they have to enter a gay bar, Wee Hughie seems less tolerant than he may have sounded, allowing Butcher to have fun in ribbing him a bit. The two speak to the bartender and Butcher's sobriety is also revealed as he explains to Hughie it doesn't agree with him. As it also turns out, the bartender is who they are there to see regarding The Legends grand nephew Stephen Rubenstein and Swingwing. The bartender, Paul Drake explains how Stephen was recently out, and a bit confused and vulnerable. He goes on to explain how Swingding was pro-homosexuality and would often attend community meetings to provide support to the gay community. He also relayed that Tek Knight, a member of the superhero team Payback seemed hostile towards homosexuals. With that in mind, Butcher takes Hughie with him to see Tek Knight. Butcher is able to quickly identify Tek Knight despite the latter being in his civilian identity and navigate around Tek Knights advanced security systems with ease explaining to Tek Knight why and how he knows so much. Butcher questions Tek Knight before leaving. This series of interviews and questioning leads Butcher and the Boys to discovering a complex web of lies, scandal and deception surrounding Tek Knight and Slingwing. Eventually, Butcher and Hughie find out Slingwing was responsible, with Butcher toughening up Hughie by forcing him to fight Swingwing by himself.
Glorious Five Year Plan
Butcher and his crew of anti superheroes next head to Moscow on a new mission. Butcher reunites with his good and long time friend Vasili Vorishikin also known as Love Sausage introducing the big Russian ex-superhero to Hughie in the process. The group reminisces with Hughie learning more about Love Sausage and Butcher finally explaining what the group is doing in Russia detailing several incidents in the local area with supes heads exploding spontaneously. No weapons or bullets were found near the victims but Butcher has a theory that the use of a boosted but unstable version of Compound V that may be the cause. Hughie learns more about Love Sausage's hero days as a part of Glorious Five Year Plan, alongside The Tractor, Purge, Red Banner and Collectivo. Butcher uses the Frenchman's expertise to examine the dead bodies of the victims. Whilst waiting for a pizza they ordered to arrive Butcher, Vas and Hughie talk Russian politics, however when the pizza does arrive, the revealed inside bares the skinned face of an associate of Vas's. Butcher realizes that someone is aware they are in Russia and he plans on finding out who. Realizing that they may be under surveillance Butcher feigns a mock argument with Hughie out in public, whilst the Frenchman uses his enhanced sense of smell to search and identify any would-be spies. As it would have it, the Boys group have been tailed The Frenchman is able to apprehend the men sent to keep watch on the Boys. Butcher realizes he is dealing with a local crime lord Nina Kamenko, also known as Little Nina.
The Female is lured into a trap by powerful Payback member Stormfront. Considered by some to be the second most powerful superhuman in the world after the Homelander. The Female finds herself in the unusual position of being the underdog as she is also quick to evade Stormfront's lethal lightning breath, but she is out powered none the less and Stormfront delivers a vicious beating only the Female's ferocity allowing her to gauge out Stormfront's right eye before he beats her unconscious. Unbeknownst to the Frenchman who actually injured her so severely, he reports her injury to the rest of the Boys team who follow the Frenchman to the Clinic she is being held at. The Female in a coma the rest of the team discusses her injuries outside her room, before Mother's Milk grows suspicious about the Hospital and its facilities. Realizing they had walked into a trap, Butcher order's the Frenchman to get the Female out of the building. Payback arrives on the scene tearing through a brick wall and the two teams engage in a violent brawl. Butcher manages to knock Mind Droid out off the start but the Boys are still outnumbered and out powered with their two most powerful members. Stormfront toys with MM, while Butcher fights off Soldier Boy, and Hughie and terror fend off Crimson Countess. The Boys characters resort to sheer ferocity, Butcher tearing off Soldier Boys nose and MM attacking a distracted Stormfront's testicles. This distraction gives Butcher the chance to tell Hughie to leave with MM and find The Frenchman and the Female. Meanwhile, the Frenchman has gotten the comatose Female to a proper genuine hospital where she is checked in.
Powers and Abilities
Like the rest of The Boys, Butcher was injected with a special chemical called "Compound V" that increases strength, reflexes, stamina and durability and gives the ability to heal wounds faster than normal humans. Butcher now possesses super strength, the likes of which enable him to crush a Glock handgun in his hands with ease, and rip the very thumbs of another superpowered human Shout Out and makes hurting and maiming superpowered superheroes much easier.
Butcher is so brutal and cunning that even the largest and most powerful superhero group in the world, The Seven, are wary of him. When it comes to supes, Butcher shows no mercy, and will either severely injure or kill them outright. This is best exemplified by his attitude towards the team Super Duper, who although portrayed as childish and mentally deficient, were only saved from Butcher's wrath by a badly injured Hughie's insistence that they were only children.
The Boys (2019)
Butcher appears in the 2019 Amazon show, The Boys, portrayed by Karl Urban. Unlike in the comics. Butcher does not take Compound V. As a result, he uses a variety of weapons to level the playing field when against supes.