By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Boy, I’ll tell ya. Walk into a public library with this book visibly under your arm, and people will look at you. I mean, REALLY look at you…
Not to be confused with that nursery rhyme about three men in a tub, Butcher Baker: The Righteous Maker is Joe Casey’s attempt at bringing something fresh and risky to modern superhero comics. In the roughly 5-page cuss-ridden rant that follows the content, Casey talks about how the big publishers are “mired in a swirling stew of impenetrable continuity and overly (and hopelessly dated) decompressed storytelling and all the daring experimentation…seems like a distant memory.” Casey says that a comic book in 2011 should give readers an idea of what mainstream pop culture will be like in 2021, a brand of storytelling he calls “Lo-Fi Futureshit.”
It’s a compelling, thought-provoking rant. But I’m not sure if Butcher Baker is be the solution to the problem, not at first glance at least (granted, one issue rarely changes the medium).
Once the American government’s own genetically engineered superhero, Butcher Baker now apparently lives his life amid the finer things in life: Booze and broads (NAKED broads, as if you were planning to pick this one up for the kids). But when Jay Leno and Dick Cheney (you read that right) ask that he kill off an entire prison full of meta-human criminals, Butcher is back in the game, American flag colored semi-truck and all.
There’s nothing wrong with ballsy content, littered with naked bitches. If I could, I’d have it with my toast in the morning. But my first impression of Butcher Baker is that of a Wolverine/Lobo hybrid, who’s allowed to have naked chicks around him. Painting him with the American flag (even on his ball bag) doesn’t make that fresh or cutting edge. It’s entertaining, and Huddleston’s art is very well done, but that’s the extent of it.
Sadly, at this point I’m inclined to leave this one on the shelf with the swirling stew.
Okay, hang on… *flips through issue*… All clear, folks! No Matthew Broderick! You may proceed!
This issue is pretty straightforward. It’s Godzilla rising out of the sea and doing Godzilla stuff. He shows up in Japan, trashes breaks stuff, then heads for the United States. Apparently there’s no prior continuity we need to be aware of, as no one recognizes the 50-story dinosaur trashing Tokyo. What’s worse, when Japan hits him with a nuke, they accidentally give him the power to breathe fire.
There’s a terrible World War II joke in there somewhere…
The issue pokes some fun at the Obama administration at the end, as the president laments his troubles with being labeled a socialist witch doctor, the war, the economy, the oil spill, and now a giant monster heading for America. Some guys just can’t catch a break.
To it’s credit, this issue gives people what they’re looking for right out of the gate: Large scale property devastation via a giant dinosaur. It’s also the classic Godzilla. His look hasn’t been updated, tweaked or tampered with at all. They didn’t fix what wasn’t broken. I’ve never even seen a Godzilla film in its entirety (except for that damn Matthew Broderick one), but this issue still rang true to everything I would hope to see from a Godzilla story. And hey, it’s always nice to see Phil Hester’s work.
Butcher Baker preview page from previews.diamondcomics.com.
For more from Joe Casey, check out Wildcats Version 3.0: Year One.