Black Noir (character)

Black Noir,[4] or simply Noir, is the name of three superhero characters from the comic book series The Boys, created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and the television series and franchise of the same name, developed by Eric Kripke. In both the comic and TV series, Noir is a member of the hedonistic and reckless Vought-American superhero group the Seven and is depicted as a "silent ninja" type parody of Batman, Snake Eyes and Deathstroke.

Black Noir
The Boys character
The-boys-black-noir-1575640487.jpg
Black Noir as portrayed in the live-action television series by Nathan Mitchell
First appearance
Last appearance
  • Black Noir (Clone):
  • The Boys #65 (2012)
  • Black Noir (Earving):

"The Instant White-Hot Wild" (2022)

Created byGarth Ennis
Darick Robertson
Based on
Adapted byEric Kripke
Portrayed byNathan Mitchell
Fritzy-Klevans Destine (young; Earving)
Voiced by
In-universe information
Full nameEarving (television series)
AliasNoir
Species
GenderMale
TitleBlack Noir
Silent Knight
Occupation
AffiliationVought-American
Family
ChildrenBaby Butcher (comic series)
ReligionRoman Catholic (Earving)
NationalityAmerican
Abilities
  • Regenerative Healing Factor
  • Superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, smell, and hearing

Comic series:

  • Poison and Toxin Immunity
  • Regenerative Healing Factor
  • Invulnerability
  • Heat vision
  • X-Ray vision
  • Flight
WeaknessesTree nut allergy (Earving)

In the comic series, Noir is revealed to be a clone of Homelander, created to replace him if he ever went rogue. Driven insane by a lack of purpose, Noir resolved to frame Homelander for various atrocities as part of a plan to gradually drive him insane and replace him. However, he is ultimately killed by Homelander and Billy Butcher. In the TV series adaption, Noir, portrayed by Nathan Mitchell and Fritzy-Klevans Destine, is instead depicted as a brain-damaged black Supe named Earving, who is loyal to Vought CEO Stan Edgar. In The Boys Presents: Diabolical, Noir is depicted guiding Homelander in his early career. Following Earving's death in the third season finale of the main series, Kripke confirmed in July 2022 that Mitchell would portray a replacement Noir in the upcoming fourth season of the series.[5]

AppearancesEdit

Comic book seriesEdit

In the comic series, Black Noir is depicted as a member of the superhero team, The Seven, and the only superhuman created by Vought-American who can beat Homelander in arm-wrestling. Until the events of the series' climax, it is implied that Homelander had raped Billy Butcher's wife, Becky, who then died giving birth to a superhuman baby Butcher had then killed. In Issue #40, the Boys receive a series of incriminating photos seemingly showing Homelander engaging in grisly acts of murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia against men, women, and children. The series eventually reveals that Homelander cannot remember either these incidents or the rape of Butcher's wife, and suggests that Homelander has dissociative identity disorder and may have sent the photographs to Butcher himself. In private, Homelander shows signs of suffering a mental breakdown, talking to his own reflection in a mirror, and having bouts of nausea over the images, genuinely confused and horrified by their contents, events which a secretly watching Frenchie decides to keep from Butcher. Deciding he is "damned" for the acts depicted in the photos, Homelander decides to give in to any intrusive thoughts that cross his mind.

Following Herogasm, in which Black Noir randomly "thumbs up" Wee Hughie's posterior while the latter was infiltrating an orgy, Homelander resolves to free himself and the superhero community from Vought-American's control, leading the other superheroes in a coup d'etat against the United States, launching an attack on the White House and killing everyone inside, including the Vought-controlled Vice President, under the guise of doing so for Vought. During the subsequent confrontation between Homelander and Butcher, surmising why Butcher must hate him, Black Noir arrives in the Oval Office and reveals himself to be a clone of Homelander created solely to kill and replace him if he ever went rogue. Gradually being driven insane due to not being allowed to kill Homelander, Noir reveals that he committed the atrocities documented in the photos and had raped Becky to set Butcher and Homelander against one another so that he would be given authorization to fulfill his purpose. Outraged, Homelander attacks Noir, who proceeds to tear Homelander apart. Before dying, Homelander manages to seriously injure his former teammate, allowing Butcher to later finish him off with a crowbar, before embarking on his own genocidal plan to kill all superheroes and those "Supes" with the genetic potential to become them.[6]

One year later, the Guy from Vought (James Stillwell) turns down a pitch from his marketing department for a new rebranded all-white-clad Noir (and other Supes) — White Blanche — as a part of "True", consisting of regular Supes and various Supes brought back from death with a limited mental capacity by Compound V. Realizing that Compound V and Supes in general comprise "bad product", Stillwell begins to suffer a mental breakdown.

Television seriesEdit

EarvingEdit

The BoysEdit

In the live-action television adaptation, Black Noir is portrayed by Nathan Mitchell while Fritzey-Klevans Destine portrays Noir in flashbacks.[7] Largely silent, he primarily communicates in a series of silent gestures and intimidating body language, and possesses a healing factor coupled with a penchant for artistic exploits, standing toe-to-toe with the Female and effortlessly playing classical music on a piano in the first season. In the second season, Noir is revealed to be the loyal enforcer of Vought CEO Stanford "Stan" Edgar, who directs his every action in combat, including killing the super-terrorist Naqib and tracking down Billy Butcher and the Boys.[8][9] However, Noir also displays simple, friendly character traits of his own outside of combat, such as giving Naqib's son a teddy bear, befriending a Vought programmer while looking for Butcher, and breaking down in tears upon learning his powers originated from Compound V injections given to him by Vought with his parents' consent as a child. Later, while attempting to apprehend the then-rogue Starlight, Noir is put into a coma by Queen Maeve after she exploits his tree nut allergy by forcing him to consume an Almond Joy and kicking his Epi-pen out of reach, during which he is revealed to be black.[10][11] In flashbacks to the Cold War depicted in the third season, Noir is revealed to be a man named Earving who had begun his superhero career and joined Payback, but was subjected to career sabotage and physical abuse by team leader Soldier Boy. In 1984, amidst a joint operation with the CIA to stop a communist government in Nicaragua, Edgar secretly assigned him to trade Soldier Boy to the Russian government so Vought can eventually replace him with Homelander. Throughout, Noir complained about having to wear a helmet that covers his face as he wanted to be the "Eddie Murphy" of superheroes, though Edgar told him Vought believed a publicly black superhero was neither profitable nor acceptable at the time. After the camp was attacked by Nicaraguan and Russian soldiers, Noir was left permanently disfigured, mute, and brain damaged after being beaten by Soldier Boy while trying to subdue him with Payback's help.[12] In the present, after coming out of his coma and upon learning of Soldier Boy's return to America, Noir cuts his tracking chip out of his arm and hides out in an abandoned Buster Beaver's Pizza Restaurant, where its mascots and his imaginary friends reenact the abuse he suffered from Soldier Boy and convince Noir to face him instead of running. Upon returning to Vought however, Homelander kills Noir for withholding his knowledge of Soldier Boy being Homelander's biological father.

Seven on 7Edit

In the 2021–2022 promotional web series Seven on 7 with Cameron Coleman, which bridges the events of the second and third seasons of the live-action adaptation, Noir is revealed to have awoken from his coma and been charged by Vought with tracking down numerous Supes that had escaped from a psychiatric hospital as well as filming promos for Vought's streaming service, Vought+, on which his film Black Noir: Insurrection is to be released.[13][14]

Death Battle!Edit

In the 2020 Amazon Prime Video-sponsored The Boys promotional episodes of Death Battle!, Black Noir gives up his place in participating in the Seven's battle royale to Billy Butcher, in favour of serving as one of the event's hosts alongside Wiz and Boomstick, with whom he communicates via a series of head and hand gestures. Noir subsequently reappears in Death Battle! as a recurring character and background comic relief.[15][16]

DiabolicalEdit

In The Boys Presents: Diabolical prequel episode "One Plus One Equals Two", Black Noir is revealed to have been the "Homelander before Homelander", who Madelyn Stillwell sought to supplant, describing Noir as being built to destroy Homelander.[17][18] After coming across a then-18-year-old Homelander after he accidentally killed several hostages and eco-terrorists on his first mission as a superhero, Black Noir evades Homelander's attempts to kill him before tricking him into destroying the compound they were in and mercy killing the last eco-terrorist in its aftermath to prevent Homelander from killing them both. Successfully gaining Homelander's trust, Black Noir writes him an excusatory speech to provide to the press outside, claiming the eco-terrorists had a bomb.[19]

New Black NoirEdit

Following Noir's death in the third season finale of the main series, Eric Kripke confirmed in July 2022 that Noir's actor Nathan Mitchell would portray a replacement Black Noir in the upcoming fourth season of the series; describing the character as a "whole new" and "really interesting and hilarious character".[5]

Potential spin-offEdit

In October 2020, following news of the development of several spin-off series of The Boys, Black Noir actor Nathan Mitchell expressed interest in a potential "Mr. Bean-style comedy" solo series focused on the character, tentatively entitled The Secret Life of Black Noir.[20]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

In the comics, Black Noir is a long-time member of the Seven, almost always shown in silhouette with his face obscured. His powers include super strength and supposed skills as a pilot. He is stronger than even Homelander; Mother's Milk states he can "[...] bench a dozen Mack trucks". While initially an enigma, it is revealed at the climax of the series that Black Noir is actually a clone of the Homelander, developed by Vought-American as a contingency, in case the leader of the Seven became a liability, and as such, has all of his powers, including heat vision, super strength, durability, flight, and enhanced vocal cords.

In the television series, Black Noir is depicted as a normal man imbued with Compound V. As a result, he gained superhuman strength, a regenerative healing factor and "silent ninja" aesthetic, with his only weakness being his tree nut allergy, in reference to both Superman's weakness to kryptonite and his actor Nathan Mitchell's real-life tree nut allergy.[21][22]

DevelopmentEdit

In September 2020, The Boys television adaptation's producer and showrunner Eric Kripke confirmed that despite the apparent foreshadowing of Homelander often comparing Black Noir to himself, that the plot twist of Noir being Homelander's clone, capable of killing him, would not be used, choosing instead to portray Black Noir as his own character and amalgamating the comics character's psychopathic traits with Homelander. Noir's role as a "failsafe" against Homelander was similarly supplanted by that of Homelander's son Ryan Butcher (primarily portrayed by Cameron Crovetti), a loose adaptation of the Supe baby killed by Butcher in the comic series after it killed his wife while she was giving birth to it,[23][24][25] with Kripke saying:[26]

[W]hat makes Noir 'Noir' is he's just this complete cipher; like, you just don't know anything about him and he's just completely mysterious. But then he has these strange reactions, like he'll make the teddy bear dance, or he'll cry, and he'll reveal some vulnerabilities, emotional vulnerabilities. Then he'll just return to just being this completely still, horrifying Terminator of a character, and that's kind of what I like about him, I have to say. Every so often, it comes up like, 'We should really learn who he is.' And I'm like, 'But should we know? Isn't it more interesting that we just never really quite understand how he got that way?' So I think Noir definitely remains as mysterious as always.[26]

On the third season reveal of the first Noir being a black Supe named Earving (portrayed by Fritzy-Klevans Destine) who had been "tasked by Stan Edgar to do away with Soldier Boy on Payback's Nicaragua mission [in 1984], which result[ed] in Soldier Boy searing Noir's face, after which he goes silent" from the resulting brain damage to become Edgar's unquestioning assassin by the present-day, who sees his imaginary friends as a result, Kripke stated that:[5]

"Young Noir grew up going to this pizza chain called Buster Beavers. It's like a Chuck E. Cheese. He sees the animated characters. They come to life and they have a lot of interaction with him. Like everything on the show, it's sort of this organic road to hell, I guess, We wanted to see Noir sort of Dark Night of the Soul. It's hard to do that because he doesn't communicate. We knew we had to go inside his head and someone pitched, like, he goes to a cabin. And I said, 'He should go to a cabin, but all these Snow White animated creatures should be flying around all over him' and that we strongly implied they've always been there. And then someone said, 'Well, it might be a little corny. What about like a Chuck E. Cheese?' So it just evolves."[5]

On the use of animation for Noir's imagination, inspired by his development of The Boys Presents: Diabolical, Kripke further revealed that "[w]e worked with this amazing [animation] company called 6 Point Harness, which did create all the animation for us [right at the level of real Disney hand-drawn animation]. But what I love about it most of all is it's definitely implied that for the entire run of the series, these characters just hang out with Noir. If you were to cut [back] into Noir's point of view [during the first two seasons], he'd have these animated characters that he's interacting with. And that just brings me no end of pleasure."[5]

MerchandiseEdit

To promote the third season of The Boys, Amazon Prime Video licensed a line of Black Noir MAFEX action figures from NECA and the Japanese company MediCom Toy Incorporated.[27][28][29][30]

ReceptionEdit

Inspired by Batman, the character and Mitchell's portrayal in the series (considered a breakout character) have received critical acclaim.[31]

The character has been compared to slasher film villains such as Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, and to the Marvel Comics antihero Deadpool.[32][33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Weiss, Josh (20 September 2020). "Is Black Noir The Boys' Version of Batman? The Guy Who Plays Him Says It's Not That Simple". Syfy. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  2. ^ Tiwari, Sakcham (12 April 2022). "The Boys: The 10 Bravest Characters, Ranked". Screen Rant. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  3. ^ Romano, Nick (27 January 2022). "The Vought Cinematic Universe: All the fake movies and shows from The Boys". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  4. ^ Willeford, Jacob (30 April 2022). "The Hilarious Black Noir Detail That Has The Boys Fans Chuckling". Looper. Retrieved 30 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e Romano, Nick (8 July 2022). "The Boys boss says this star will play 'a whole new character' in season 4 after that intense finale". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  6. ^ Etemesi, Philip (3 June 2022). "The Boys: 10 Things Only Comic Book Fans Know About Black Noir". Screen Rant. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 17, 2018). "'The Boys': Antony Starr, Chace Crawford, Dominique McElligott & Jessie Usher Cast In Amazon's Superhero Drama Series". Deadline Hollywood.
  8. ^ Chachowski, Richard (27 January 2022). "The Boys: 10 Goriest Deaths In The Series". Screen Rant. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  9. ^ Stone, Sam (16 September 2020). "The Boys Prepare to Take Down Black Noir, Home Alone-Style". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  10. ^ Schedeen, Jesse; Griffin, David (3 October 2020). "The Boys Season 2: Here's Why Black Noir Hates Almond Joys". IGN. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  11. ^ Venable, Nick (9 October 2020). "What Actually Happened With The Boy' Black Noir? Here's What The Actor Told Us". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  12. ^ Colombo, Charlotte (31 May 2022). "The Boys Black Noir Is on the Hunt with New Medicom MAFEX Figure". The Digital Fix. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  13. ^ Gribbin, Sean (7 October 2021). "Black Noir's Season 3 Arc Involves The Boys' Scariest Supe". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  14. ^ Ryan, Danielle (12 November 2021). "The Boys Roasts Disney With A 'Vought+ Day' Video". /Film. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  15. ^ The Seven Battle Royale (The Boys). DEATH BATTLE!. September 17, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ BREAKDOWN: The Seven Battle Royale (The Boys). DEATH BATTLE!. September 17, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ Swanstrom, Kevin (5 March 2022). "Homelander Diabolical Finale Is Canon For The Boys Season 3, Says Kripke". Screen Rant. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  18. ^ Stinson, Katherine (15 March 2022). "Is Black Noir Actually Homelander's PR Agent? There's Proof in 'The Boys Presents: Diabolical'". Distractify. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  19. ^ Maas, Jennifer (5 March 2022). "How 'Diabolical' Connects to 'The Boys' Season 3: Yes, That Finale Is Canon". Variety. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  20. ^ Russell, Bradley (11 October 2020). "Black Noir actor reveals his dream idea for a spin-off of The Boys". Games Radar. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  21. ^ Venable, Nick (7 October 2020). "Why The Boys' Black Noir Star Was Cool With His Real Allergy Being Used In The Show". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  22. ^ Wang, Tiffany (10 October 2020). "The Boys Season 2: Black Noir's Weakness Inspired By Actor's Real Allergy". Screen Rant. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Does The Boys' Black Noir Reveal Mean That Big Homelander Comic Twist Isn't Happening?". Cinema Blend. October 11, 2020.
  24. ^ "Can Homelander Be Killed? The Boys' Eric Kripke Weighs In". Collider. September 4, 2020.
  25. ^ "'The Boys' Showrunner On If Homelander Can Be Killed". Heroic Hollywood. September 4, 2020.
  26. ^ a b Venable, Nick (11 September 2020). "Why The Boys' Black Noir Probably Won't Get A Backstory, According To The Showrunner". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  27. ^ Roberts, Tyler (23 March 2022). "The Boys Black Noir is Ready to Break Necks with New NECA Release". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
  28. ^ Nafpliotis, Nick (24 March 2022). "The Boys: NECA reveals Ultimate Black Noir figure". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  29. ^ Paur, Joey (27 March 2022). "Black Noir From THE BOYS Gets His Very Own Action Figure". GeekTyrant. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  30. ^ Roberts, Tyler (24 May 2022). "The Boys Black Noir Is on the Hunt with New Medicom MAFEX Figure". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  31. ^ Wallin, Jacob (29 April 2022). "Supporting TV Characters Who Became More Popular Than The Protagonists". Screen Rant. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  32. ^ Zogbi, Emily (13 May 2022). "The Boys Releases Friday the 13th-Themed Black Noir Footage". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  33. ^ Bedard, Mike (25 May 2022). "The Character From The Boys That Fans Think Is A Deadpool Parody". Looper. Retrieved 25 May 2022.