This week, my random quest led me to the long boxes of my local Oxfam bookshop, and within those boxes I uncovered a lonely little issue #3 of ‘Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker’ by Image Comics…
Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later wasn’t it? Yup, I hated this book.
To be fair, ‘hated’ is a bit strong. There are some good points. First off, Butcher Baker looks the business. The art here is awesome, and as soon as I opened the cover I was all like “yeaahhh! I could admire this all day!”. Secondly, this title is clearly BATSHIT MENTAL, and although that’s a positive to begin with, you soon realise there isn’t really much else going on here at all. We get a big, riotous car chase, which is always cool, especially the way Mike Huddleston draws, but aside from that we really just get some bad guys plotting to kill our titular hero.
There is some stuff going on in these pages that some would find offensive, but personally I’m fine with a lot of swearing, over-the-top innuendo, or a scene where one of the bad guys appears to be having sex with a dead – or at the very least, mortally wounded – woman (Yup, you read that right! Luckily Harley Quinn wasn’t the victim and this isn’t a DC book, so no harm, no foul, right internet???). I can live with all that, no problem. The thing I didn’t like about this comic is that it feels like all of this is being done purely to be as different or as adult as possible. Pretty much every character here swears like a trooper. Okay, so the protagonist is a foul-mouthed perv? Cool! But absolutely everyone else is too, so it starts to feel a bit like swearing for swearing’s sake, and the characters become uninteresting and same-y pretty quick. What makes it even more annoying is that the dialogue in Butcher Baker isn’t that bad. It just weighs itself down with constant tired obscenity.
Then you have the ‘backmatter’. This is the essay you often see at the end of Image books where the writers like to address issues in the industry, and talk about how good it is to be all independent and cool and free from over-reactive internet backlashes every time they do something naughty. That’s all cool too, but in this case, Joe Casey’s backmatter is actually much more interesting than anything else in the book.
Having written this review, I did wonder if maybe I just didn’t ‘get it’, so I will admit that I broke my own ‘no homework’ rule here, and I looked up more info on Butcher Baker online. From what I saw, it seems this series has received a fairly similar critical response along the lines of “The art is great, the rest is a bit blah’.
Anyhoo! At least my £1 went to charity, and now you guys get to sound off about how uncool my opinion is! So, have you read Butcher Baker? Love it? Hate it? Let me know, and feel free to suggest other books for future Random Retrospectives!
The writer of this piece was:
Alan Shields aka (Al)
You can also find Al on Facebook