REVIEW: Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #1

Story by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Darick Robertson
Colours by: Tony Avina
Letters by: Simon Bowland
Cover by: Darick Robertson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Book Summery: The story of Billy Butcher, the Boys’ mysterious leader, is told at last. From the backstreets ofLondon’s East End to the carnage of the Falklands War, from the heights of love to the depths of tragedy, the most violent man in comics reveals the terrible nature of the forces that drive him. And when he’s done, he’ll be ready… to finish things once and for all.


This is the beginning of the much anticipated tale that will flesh out the past of The Boys muscle bound leader. Following on from the most recently finished mini series telling a story set in Scotland that fleshed out Hughie’s past in Highland Laddie, Ennis has long touted this as the story he has been waiting to tell, the story that we should most look forward to and even series co-creator Darick Robertson took a hiatus from the main book to work exclusively on this mini series.

The book opens with a really rather good war scene which you have come to expect to some degree from Ennis these days as his love of all things military seeps into almost every work he does now. The opening scene came across almost like a pre credits sequence to some blockbuster film. It showed the reader how fearless Butcher was even in his formative years and displayed leadership qualities that he would use later in life.
Several aspects of his past were tentatively explored in the issue among them Butcher’s relationship with his father, seen my many as a saint but from those who had to endure him behind closed doors, his failings were many and violent. As a follow on from that Butcher forms a close bond with his younger brother and as both of them suffer under the cruelty that their father rains down on them and their mother, their bond tightens to the point that comparisons between Butcher and how he handles Hughie in the main title years later are inevitable. The issue is an interesting character study of Butcher who gets many layered nuances added onto him beyond what we knew from the main title.
After finishing the issue it is easy to say that I missed Roberson on the main title. It has been roughly eight months since he handed off the reigns of the main title to others. The high octane opening scene and how good it was as much to do with how those pages were structured by him than anything written. Interesting camera angles used in the issue and some harrowing images of violence on women ensured that this issue hit deep on many levels. In essence, it is great to have Robertson back.
Although it is just the first issue of the series, enough of the essential beats are set up here and hopefully when expanded on further, the promise of Ennis about this mini being the great one to read will be justified. It is a very good start to what I hope will be a memorable story about one of the best characters in comics in the last decade.