Movie Reviews

The Boys' Version Of DC's Robin Quietly Debuts In Season 4, Episode 6

The following contains spoilers for The Boys season 4, episode 6, “Dirty Business,” now streaming on Prime Video


Summary

  • The Boys
    season 4 introduces a parody of Batman’s sidekick, Robin.
  • Laddio’s presence in the show connects to the deconstructed Batman archetype.
  • The original comics featured two parodies of Robin connected to Tek Knight, highlighting the character’s evolving role in the superhero genre.


The Boys just secretly introduced its take on Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Part of the appeal of The Boys is seeing the show’s often absurd and frequently perverse riffs on classic superheroes. Some of these characters have factored into the show in major ways – reinventing the Superman archetype into the horrifying Homelander, for example. Sometimes, the character remixes are more for the comedic potential they possess, like the shrinking supe Termite accidentally exploding someone from the inside. The Boys season 4’s cast has reinforced this with several new character additions.

Season 4, episode 6, “Dirty Business,” plays into this, introducing more The Boys parodies of Marvel and DC characters. Beyond the Spider-Man satire with Webweaver, the show also quietly introduces Elijah, its version of Alfred Pennyworth, who ends up dispatching Tek Knight when he discovers the true scope of his role in Homelander’s plans. A less obvious superhero parody in “Dirty Business,” however, is actually The Boys‘ version of DC’s Robin.


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The Boys Season 4, Episode 6 Secretly Introduces Laddio

The Boys Sets Up Laddio As Tek Knight’s Former “Sidekick”

Laddio in a red rubber suit in The Boys.

The Boys season 4 quietly introduces Tek Knight’s sidekick, Laddio – the superhero parody of Robin. In “Dirty Business,” the Boys are able to use Webweaver’s invitation to Tek Knight’s party as a cover to bug his headquarters. Hughie goes undercover impersonating the supe, and ends up in the grasp of Tek Knight. Tek Knight reveals he invited Webweaver partly for pleasure, as he has grown tired of his current sidekick. The Boys then reveals a man in a red bodysuit gagged and chained to the wall within Tek Knight’s cave, with the credits confirming this is Reid Millar as Laddio.


The show reinforces the Robin connection via Laddio wearing a red suit, the primary color in Robin’s costume. Laddio actually turns out to be one of the few Supes who willingly helps the Boys. After breaking free, Laddio shows them how using Tek Knight’s resources to donate millions to progressive organizations can hurt him. He is last seen waving goodbye to the heroes, leaving him and Elijah to dispose of the corrupt billionaire’s body. It’s a quietly brutal ending for Tek Knight, and feels particularly pointed given that The Boys‘ deconstructed Batman archetype was taken out by clear pastiches on Alfred and Robin.

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Laddio & SwingWing In The Boys’ Comic Books Explained

The Boys Comic Had More Than One Robin Parody

In the original The Boys comics, there were actually two parodies of Robin that were directly connected to Tek Knight. This is a reference to the way that the Robin role became one filled by several DC characters over the years. The comic book Laddio was Tek Knight’s current sidekick when he debuted, and only appeared briefly before being ordered away by his mentor, who was growing concerned about his urges. It was later revealed that the original Laddio had grown up and become a solo hero named SwingWing – a play on Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing – while other characters adopted the “Laddio” mantle.


SwingWing likely inspired the more overt sexuality of Laddio in Prime Video’s The Boys, as his relationship with Tek Knight and the Catwoman parody Talon was overtly shown in the comic books. SwingWing was cruel and an overt bigot, which could have helped shape the direction the show takes with Tek Knight. Given that he was masked the entire episode, it’s possible that Prime Video’s version of Laddio could return in unexpected places in The Boys, allowing its version of Robin to become a true hero.

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