The Boys’ Starlight: The Most Realistic Superhero Powers?

Believe it or not, there’s a surprising amount of scientific evidence to support Starlight’s powers on The Boys.

You wouldn’t believe the number of potential topics surrounding Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys that we discussed before settling on this one…and that includes some that were absolutely (in the spirit of the show itself) NSFW. But ultimately, we decided to go with breaking down the secret of Starlight’s powers. 

For those of you who might not know, Annie January, known as Starlight, is a member of The Seven, a group of superheroes funded and managed by Vought International. Generally speaking, Starlight is one of the only members of the Seven with selfless, benevolent motivations, but becomes disillusioned when she sees the dark secrets of Vought and her teammates. Starlight can fly and manipulate light. Her trademark power is electricity conversion: she can absorb the ambient electricity from her surroundings in order to fuel her powers which can often manifest as focused blasts of light from her hands. It is unclear if these blasts are made out of plasma or pure light energy. They can manifest as either heat, concussive force, or blinding light. 

Why Starlight? She’s the most central character on the show with powers who also isn’t morally reprehensible, for one thing. But more importantly, we felt her power set was the one that would provide the most interesting discussion points to start us off. We may get to some of your other problematic faves from The Boys in future episodes, so don’t worry!


Ordinarily, we’d direct you to specific episodes of The Boys that deal heavily with Starlight’s powers and origin (similar to how we gave you episode recommendations in our episodes on  Star Trek’s Transporter or Doctor Who’s TARDIS). But since The Boys is so heavily serialized, and individual episodes might not make a ton of sense in a vacuum, you may as well watch the whole series. And if you haven’t watched The Boys on Amazon Prime Video yet, just what the heck are you doing reading this? Go! And THEN watch our latest episode!


Do you want to delve a little deeper into the facts, concepts, and stories Hakeem and Tamara referenced in today’s episode? Here are a few recommendations!

Oh, and before we get into the scientific concepts that help generate Starlight’s powers, you might already know that The Boys TV series was based on a comic book series of the same  name by Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson. The entire series has been collected in some handy omnibus editions, and it’s just different enough from its TV counterpart that you should check it out!

Electric Fields

“In order to understand electric fields, there’s a related thing called electric charge. The fundamental units of electric charge are found in matter. Those are electrons, which have negative electric charge and we use that as the standard of one unit of electric charge, and the proton…which has positive electric charge that’s equal in magnitude to that of the electron which to me is a crazy coincidence because the electron is just one single thing but a proton is a composite system of quarks and gluons.”

Light-Matter Interaction

“If I have a wall, the light does not pass through it. So that means that the light is actually interacting with those atoms and those molecules in that wall and the light is being absorbed, it’s  not making it out the other side. But if I have a window, which is also made of matter, but it’s transparent. But why is it transparent? It’s because the matter, which is primarily the electrons, are…I’m going to use a word that isn’t really appropriate but makes sense…I’m going  to personify matter…they choose not to interact.”

Ion Pumping

“Every cell in your body has the ability to create an electric charge and just become a tiny little battery. They do this thing called ion pumping where they kick sodium and chlorine ions out of themselves. Ions have a positive electric charge so that leaves the cell interior with a negative electric charge. For example, the electric eel, when they want to generate their electric current, they take those ions back into themselves but then they do what a storm cloud does. What a storm cloud does to generate a lightning bolt is it separates the negative and positive charge in the clouds…and the charge is going to flow and make a connection with the ground.”

Virtual Particles

“There is a mirror realm of fields and a mirror realm of particles. We exist and interact, we’re made up of real particles, real electrons and protons. Our electric fields are real electric fields. But then we discovered that there are so-called virtual particles that make up these fake virtual fields.”


The new era of Doctor Who is in full swing on Disney+ right now, so in case you missed it, now would be a great time to revisit our Who-centric episode about the TARDIS!


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