Recap for Review Group Week 268! Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker #1 by Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston as selected by guitarsmashley.
The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.
After Joe Casey's month long performance art teaser campaign, who wasn't at least a bit curious about Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker?
Review by John Snow
This might be the first comic to need a warning for epileptics. I don't think there's been a new series this visually striking since Nic Klein's Viking.
The art in Butcher Baker jumps off the page, it really overwhelms what little story the comic contains. Certainly Joe Casey doesn't hold back with the wild and crazy, but I suspect Mike Huddleston could have made a routine trip to the supermarket look just as fantastic.
Seriously, if Huddleston can give a halfway decent explanation for where that tail is attached in the post-coital panel just give him the Eisner now.
I don't know if Butcher Baker can live up to being the Nextwave/Casanova mashup it wants to be, but if nothing else I'm going to keep buying it for the art.
Review by Royal Nonesuch
What I like best about Butcher Baker #1 is the sort of institutionalized pop culture motif in its world. It isn't Dick Cheney who (along with a smug Jay Leno) recruits our hero (an aggressively typed exemplar of masculinity) for a mission, it's the popular image of him. That mission, of course, being one of near contextless violence, the most crowd-pleasing kind of violence. There is an interesting meditative quality to a super-buff, mustachioed superhero pondering how life got to the point where doing the right thing means looking at the small picture (while he wears an American flag banana hammock). The plot, such that it is, is definitely secondary to the world-building, and the abrupt ending certainly makes that apparent.
There aren't many artists who could have illustrated this story effectively, but Mike Huddleston is one of them. His energy is manic and sends a constant stream of information into the reader's brain. It's great stuff, and it works for whatever it is Joe Casey is getting out of his system here.
Review by daringd
When to the comic store yesterday Butcher was in my pull. I asked the LCS manger what it was. He described it as "The book you want" And I agree. It was awesome. The art was incredible, Joe Casey is a solid writer but I've never when ape over his work. This on the other hand. Added to the pull list I'd buy the book for the art work alone, damn good book.
Review by starlord
Huh. I was really excited about this, especially after looking through it and seeing sex and nudity. That's always fun to have in a comic. Still the story has to work as well and I'm on the fence about that.
The main character seems to be the love child of Jack Burton and Duke Nukem. Throw in some Garth Ennis story concepts and that's what I got out of the first issue. It was enjoyable; very enjoyable, but I didn't get the feeling of anything new here either. Take a bunch of ingrediants from other books and movies and mesh it together. Does it work? Yes. Will I get this in trade? Yes. Is this the most orginal thing I've read lately? No.
My Score: 8.25
Review by Jude Terror
I like Joe Casey, and despite the buildup to the launch of this comic being a little bit over-saturated, I had grown excited for this over the last few weeks. And indeed, the first few issues are in my DCBS orders, though I couldn't find one available this month. However, I have to admit I'm a little bit overwhelmed. Part of that comes from the fact that the comic itself doesn't offer much more than the teasers did. Gratuitous sex and nudity? Check. Ultra-cynical commentary on American culture? Check. Crazy, off-beat indie art? Check. The problem is, the story was pedestrian. Butcher Baker, a retired government agent superhero who's turned into a cynical, self-centered asshole is approached by Dick Cheney and Jay Leno (outrageous burn!!!... I guess) to murder all his incarcerated enemies in order to save the taxpayers money. Yawn. Alan Moore covered the ground covered by this character nearly thirty years ago in Watchmen, as only one part of a larger story, and somehow it managed to be more poignant than this while remaining at least twenty times more subdued. If ever there was a book that tried too hard, it was Butcher Baker. It might be shocking to anyone who hasn't read a comic, read a book, seen a movie, listened to an album, or in any way imbibed a work of pop culture older than five years, but to anyone else, it has a very been there, done that feel, which is unfortunate because the shock value seems to be the main selling point here. In retrospect, writing this review has shown me that I dislike this comic a lot more than I thought I did. I'll probably give it a shot for another issue or two since I already paid for them and all, but so far, not so good. If I want to indulge in some ultraviolence and gratuitous nudity, I'll watch a Clockwork Orange or some other far superior product.
Final Score: 2
Review by Sweet Jame Jones
I have to say I wasn't blown away by this book like the majority were. The concept seemed good and I like the satirical take on everything but something didn't click for me. So much so that I've forced myself to read this over and over again to see if there's something I'm not getting. Nope, I just wasn't feeling it.
It just felt TOO crazy. Like it was from the perspective of a kid with ADD hopped on a mountain of coke. The art was pretty and really jumped out at me as I read it, especially in the car chase scene, despite making the tone of the book go off the rails which sort of ruined the story feel.
The overall story of the protagonist, Butcher Baker, being told to kill all his old villains who are currently incarcerated to save the taxpayers money also seemed solid...but the pacing and everything felt more like trying too hard to shock. At times in the prison part of the story I felt i was reading an adaption to an early 90's Steven Seagal movie starring a Lobo.
But when you take away the shock after shock factor, I didn't feel there was much else in this other than some nice, different art. Definitely different compared to other stuff out there...but nothing that will make me personally rush next month to get #2. Maybe I'll get the trade later.
Review by BlueStreak
I have an easy formula to help me determine the score of this week's comics.
(Number of fully exposed breasts/2)-(8.5*Number of Penis doorknobs).
Therefore we get (29*.5)-(8.5*1)=6
6 sounds about right for a score for this week.
Review by guitarsmashley
So I enjoyed this book a lot. I fully understand the complaints but I would also say that past the first few pages I didn't really see a place to laugh at. It's a dark book that isn't completely serious. The art is amazing in this book which we've already covered. And while self contained I see this book going lots of places and I look forward to seeing where it goes.
Review by Punchy
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
That gives Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker #1 a group score of 7.09. Gay. GLX's Mom'd.
For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Butcher Baker thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.
Written or Contributed by: John Martin