The Boys Just Stole A Classic Batman Move

By Michileen Martin | Updated

the boys

The Boys may be a send-up of superhero fiction, but the latest episode has one of its heroes borrowing an epic move from Batman. Fighting the Christian fundamentalist supe Ezekiel (Shaun Benson), who has stretching powers, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) flash-freezes Ezekiel’s arm and then smashes it to pieces. It’s the exact move that Batman devised to take down DC’s Plastic Man in the fan-favorite storyline JLA: Tower of Babel.

Tower Of Babel

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Unfolding in 2000, JLA‘s Tower of Babel story proved popular quickly.

While Batman is distracted trying to figure out who stole the corpses of his parents and why, his colleagues in the Justice League are being incapacitated, one by one, in ways suggesting intimate knowledge of the individual heroes.

In some cases–such as the ways devised to take out Wonder Woman and the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern–whoever’s doing it appears to not only know the heroes’ physical vulnerabilities, but their psychological ones as well.

We eventually learn, as no doubt The Boys writers know, that while the villain taking out the JLA members is Ra’s al Ghul, Ra’s is doing it using plans conceived by Batman. Knowing the Dark Knight would have invented protocols to take out the Justice League in case he had to, Ra’s al Ghul sends his daughter Talia to infiltrate the Batcave and steal the protocols for Ra’s to use.

Batman’s Anti-Plastic Man Strategy

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Plastic Man, who has stretching powers like Ezekiel of The Boys, is one of the first to fall to Batman’s protocols. Ra’s al Ghul’s men attack him and Aquaman at the United Nations, and the battle is surprisingly quick.

They hit Aquaman with a gas that gives him aquaphobia–making him fear water, which he needs more than a normal human. Plastic Man is flash-frozen by a special missile and then his entire body is smashed with a hammer.

In spite of his silly name, Plastic Man is insanely powerful and survives the event. He’s clearly traumatized by it though, and once the smoke clears and the League votes whether or not to keep Batman after learning of his protocols, he’s one of the first to vote to boot the Bat.

Billy Butcher Vs. Ezekiel

In the latest The Boys episode, “Wisdom of the Ages,” Butcher clashes with Ezekiel after the latter discovers Frenchie (Tomer Capone) in Firecracker’s trailer and nearly kills the intruder. As soon as Ezekiel spots Butcher, he uses his stretching powers to try to grab him, and Butcher sprays the supe’s arm with liquid nitrogen.

Unfortunately for the former leader of The Boys, Ezekiel is able to recover from his wound faster than Plastic Man recovered from Batman’s protocol. Butcher nearly dies in the fight that follows, and how he manages to survive remains a mystery.

How Butcher Freezes Ezekiel Doesn’t Make A Lot Of Sense

Believe it or not, The Boys‘ most recent episode doesn’t pull this move off as believably as the comics do with Batman’s protocols. All Butcher uses to flash-freeze Ezekiel’s arm is a fire extinguisher, and while the label on the extinguisher says “LIQUID NITROGEN,” if there was enough liquid nitrogen in fire extinguishers to freeze your limbs, no one would use fire extinguishers.

What would’ve made more sense is if beforehand Butcher–knowing he might need to deal with Ezekiel–swiped liquid nitrogen from the set of Firecracker’s (Valorie Curry) VNN show. The stuff is used to create fog effects in stage and screen productions.

But apparently we’ll have to put our “it’s just a show” hat on for that.