There are heroes, villains, and anti-heroes. Then there is Butcher Baker; a super powered S.O.B. who has drunk and screwed his way across the world. One roach infested bar at a time. Butcher is a former superhero turned government spook that has been out of the game for years. That is until a pair of feds who look like Dick Cheney and Jay Leno show up to convince Butcher to take on one last ride for the stars and stripes. Let’s not forget to mention that Butcher is found neck-deep in booze, coke, and strippers when the government comes calling.
Butcher is the living embodiment of male machismo. He is every alpha male you have ever met with the volume turned up to eleven. If he can’t smoke it, drink it, screw it, or kill it then brother he ain’t interested in hearing about it.
The government wants the murder of every captured super villain in a max security prison. One bomb–finished. That’s it. The problem is that not all of the villains go up in a blaze of glory and the ones that survive know who is responsible for their attempted assassination. So things go from bad to worse for Butcher.
The chase is on. The villains are hunting down Butcher and murdering anyone that gets in their way. Butcher is not to be outdone though. With his American flag painted eighteen-wheeler nicknamed “Liberty Belle” Butcher meets the bad guys head on in a knock-down-drag-out brawl.
This tale by Joe Casey is a throwback to the rugged, tough anti-heroes of the 1970’s and 80’s. Butcher is not all that likable. He has way too many vices to be any kind of role model, and he is too brazen about his lifestyle to warrant any sympathy. He is what he is, and that is one tough mutha.
Butcher might be a caricature of action movie heroes of the past; ala Stallone and Schwarzenegger. But as bright and cocky as Butcher may be his cast of rogues is just as weird and wild. Take Jihad Jones for example. I’m not sure what Jihad’s powers are but he is one brutal customer. There might not be any redeeming characters in this title, but the bad guys are just bad enough that you want to see Butcher kick their teeth down their collective throats by the end of the arc.
The artwork is transcendent. I immediately fell in love with Mike Huddleston’s style right from the jump. There are moments where the art looks like a mix between sketchbook drawings and Sean Gordon Murphy on heavy-duty acid. The art is in your face and never loses its impact. I could spend hours looking over this trade and just soaking in the Americana flavor that Huddleston has drenched these pages in. This is a style that I want to see on more “gritty and dirty” detective and adventure stories from other publishers. It fits the narrative so well that it enhances every character by providing a rich and lush backdrop.
While this is defiantly a mature reader’s book, I would highly suggest this title to anyone that likes their comics with an edge. This book is not for mainstream audiences and thank God for that.
Final Score: 4 ½ stars out of 5.
Butcher Baker The Righteous Maker TPB
Collects Issues: 1-8
Story: Joe Casey
Art/Colors: Mike Huddleston
Letters: Rus Wooton
Publisher: Image Comics