Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker Review (Joe Casey, Mike Huddleston)

Butcher Baker’s a retired superhero, spending his days in vapid debauchery until Jay Leno and Dick Cheney approach him for one last job: blow up the supervillain prison, “The Crazy Keep”, killing all the bad guys he spent his career putting away. They’re costing the government too much dang money to house! So begins a bizarre odyssey of superhero excess.

While I didn’t like this comic I did think about what Joe Casey was going for – a satire/deconstruction on the superhero genre perhaps, some commentary on the fact that Butcher Baker (the hero) is a dumb jock while some of the supervillains are thoughtful, intelligent and well-spoken, albeit with questionable goals – but then I decided to accept the comic in the spirit it was offered: superficial face value.

Right from the start it’s Butcher Baker, this Captain America-type character, drinking, fucking, smoking, fucking (loooots of T&A in this one!), blowing shit up with his all-American truck the Liberty Belle, fucking, and fighting various lame supervillains throughout. It’s deliberately loud, obnoxious and over-the-top with no substance, just lots of violence, swearing and bewbs, and that’s something you’re either going to find entertaining or not - I was the latter.

There’s also a Buford T Justice-type sheriff after Butcher Baker for running him off the road, an utterly boring and unfunny storyline that lasts the entire book. Why are Leno and Cheney soliciting Butcher Baker? Who knows – maybe because Joe Casey doesn’t like them so casts them as bloodthirsty tools? It really does feel that arbitrary. 

Mike Huddleston’s art is appropriately free-flowing in style given Casey’s rambunctious approach. Sometimes it’s very sketchy, sometimes it’s painted, and everything in between crops up here and there. The variety is interesting though the quality is uneven and I liked some pages more than others. It didn’t make me a Huddleston fan nor does it save the comic either but it’s something.

Butcher Baker has a motor for a heart which reminded me of Chev Chelios in the amazing Crank movies who has something similar, but that same kind of frenetic madness that I think Casey was going for doesn’t translate well in comics form, at least not with his treatment. Maybe some action movie fans will enjoy this generic blah though. I’m once again lost as to why anyone would rate Casey as a writer when seemingly everything he puts out is so poorly written and tedious – Butcher Baker is no exception.

Butcher Baker, The Righteous Maker

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