‘The Boys’: Why Doesn’t Black Noir Speak?
The Amazon series The Boys was a massive hit for the streaming giant in 2019. With a quarantined population wishing for new entertainment, the new season appears to be another one.
A different take on the wildly popular superhero genre, the show is a grittier take on the biggest money-making genre on the planet. One of The Boys‘ most memorable characters, Black Noir, is best known for his silent approach. However, it isn’t just a random decision to make him seem different.
What is ‘The Boys’?
The Boys posits a world where the superheroes are not heroes at all, but pawns in a game who use their powers to not only stop crime but perpetuate it and use it as entertainment for some corporate overlords. It follows a group of humans led by Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher and Jack Quaid’s Hughie Campbell. Butcher and Campbell were both wronged by superheroes in their way.
In Butcher’s case, he believes that the heroes were behind the rape and disappearance of his wife, Becca. In Campbell’s case, a hero named A-Train killed his fiance, thanks to his Flash-like speed and a psychoactive drug that made him lose control. The first season followed the pair as they assembled a team to take down the superhero team called The Seven.
They’ve captured invisible superheroes, gone undercover, and even engaged in fights with the heroes. The series is based on a comic book by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.
It feels both in the same realm as the Marvel universe with a plot more akin to the HBO comic series Watchmen. Fans loved its satirical take on modern America and how superheroes might actually perform if they existed in real life.
Who is Black Noir?
One of the most mysterious members of The Seven is a man named Black Noir. Little is known about the superhero, but he is one of the most frightening members of the superteam.
Black Noir is often sent to do the jobs that others wouldn’t dare. He doesn’t just punish criminals. He punishes anyone who gets into his path.
This collateral damage makes him fit right in with the rest of the team. However, while other characters have loud mouths and three-dimensional storylines, Black Noir is still mysterious. Little is known about him.
He wears a black costume similar to that worn by Black Panther and doesn’t speak at all. This silence makes him a cross between a superhero and a serial killer, and the show plays up the tendency for both.
His stealthy moves and proficiency at martial arts make him a terror for whoever crosses his paths. However, this lack of sound is not just a random personality quirk thought up by the writers. There’s a very practical reason behind it.
Silent, but deadly
Nobody has seen Black Noir without a mask, nor have they heard him speak. In many ways, he just goes along with what he’s told to do and acts on whichever whims seem best at a team.
The comic book eventually fleshes out his backstory, but the version on the show remains a mystery. The mystery behind his origin and what guides him to do the things he does features heavily in the show’s second series.
This silence not only adds to the aesthetic of a genuinely frightening character, but it also makes his motivations muddy. Homelander wants law and order. A-Train wants speed. Starlight intends to fight for what is right and pure. Black Noir, however, seems to have a darkness in him that goes beyond his name.
This is why his silence is essential for the show. In the comics, we eventually learn that he’s a clone of the infamous Homelander who garners hatred for his genetic twin. The mask helps to hide this, as does the silence. Thus far, the TV series does no confirm if Black Noir is, in fact, Homelander’s clone.
On the show, fans see that many of the genetically-modified superheroes suffer unintended consequences. It could be that Black Noir’s silence is a byproduct of a clone experiment gone wrong.
The show also shows Homelander to be a massive narcissist that is coddled by the parent company that managed the heroes. They often withhold information from Homelander — example: his son with Becca — and perhaps Homelander never knew he was cloned and Black Noir was kept under wraps, quite literally, to keep Homelander feeling secure and special.
Whether this is answered on this season of the show, which airs on a weekly basis rather than dropping all at once, remains to be seen. For the time being, Black Noir is one of the most intriguing characters because he does not speak. It’s increasingly clear that this silent beast’s actions will scream louder than his voice could ever do.