Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker #1 - Untitled - Casey & Huddleston
Story - Well that was.... interesting. Butcher Baker is probably one of the strangest first issues of a comic I have read in a long time, I'm really not sure what to make of it. Which makes trying to write 3 or 4 paragraphs on the book a rather difficult proposition.
I think the main reason for this is that BB,TRM is shorter than most comics, at only 18 pages of story (plus a healthy amount of backmatter so you get your money's worth), Joe Casey has to cram a lot in, and I don't think he managed enough cramming in #1 to really hook me. I'm certainly interested in this book's unique tone, but I'm not really sure why yet.
The basic plot is this; Butcher Baker is a retired superhero (kind of a Captain America analogue) who loves fucking. He is visited by Dick Cheney and Jay Leno and recruited by the Government to kill all the super-villains he arrested and are now too expensive to incarcerate. On the way to the Prison in his massive truck, he pisses off a cop and monologues, then he blows up the Prison. The End.
That's it really, but it's all spiced up with a lot of nudity and sweating and weird ideas. But this alone isn't enough. I'm not a fan of self-consciously 'wacky' books which pile as many 'shark ninja zombies fighting robot monkey cowboys in space' in them, and I fear that Butcher Baker may become that, just trying for non-sequitur bollocks. Hopefully later issues will allay this fear, but as I said, based on this issue, we just don't know yet.
At the moment, the thing that sets this book (apart from the art, more on that later) is the sexually explicit nature of the book. On the first page we get a Doorknob shaped like an actual Knob. There are tits everywhere, and Casey livens up the exposition by having it take place during an Orgy. I'm not sure how I feel about this, I mean, it's not like nudity is that shocking, but this is much more in-your-face than most comic book nudity. I mean look at that cover. Comic books have matured in a lot of ways, but in many ways their take on sexuality and sex is very adolescent. Maybe Butcher Baker will be the book that finally picks up where American Flagg! left off and explores sex properly. Or maybe it'll just be gratuitous stupidity.
As you can probably guess, the main tone of this review is that even after reading this book more than once, I am still none the wiser. I feel that this book doesn't really stand alone. Luckily #2 is out this week, so things could be cleared up. Joe Casey is a writer who is always worth getting behind, he's always trying something new. And even if I don't quite get what this book is going for, I'm still interested in following it.
Art - Mike Huddleston is an artist I'm not familiar with, but he puts in some fantastic work here, especially since he is the colourist as well as the penciller. Every page pops with life and energy, and his style changes a lot, even from panel to panel. This makes the book a frenetic read, and it really fits the odd-ball nature of Casey's script. His caricatures of Leno and Cheney are spot on too, as are his depictions of male and female genitalia and what happens when they come together. I wouldn't go as far to say that it's worth picking this book up just for the art, but it's damn near that.
Best Line - 'You know me, Dick ... I convinced an entire nation that I'm not the douchebag they think I am'
Yes that's right,a Punchy 7.