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The Boys: Butcher Baker, Candlestickmaker #1

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The Boys: Butcher Baker, Candlestickmaker #1

Credits

  • Words: Garth Ennis
  • Art: Darick Robertson
  • Colors: Tony Avina
  • Story Title: Bomb Alley
  • Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 20, 2011

The leader of the Boys, Billy Butcher, has been a mystery to his teammates. Strong, calculating, and hateful of the Supes, he's a man you want on your side. What made this man the ticking time-bomb of hatred that he is today? What made him the strong leader of this anti-superhero task force?

Butcher Baker, Candlestickmaker takes a look through the history of Billy Butcher, uncensored and unfiltered. The book starts off with him in the Falklands War, and turns back time even further to him as a child. Thanks to his father's death, he gives the reader a tour of his life, and how his father, mother, and brother have all shaped him. His father Sam is a beast of a man; wife-abuser, philanderer, and generally terrifying, he's what Billy could grow up to be if it wasn't for his brother Lenny's calming influence. At his breaking point with his father's mistreatment of his mother, he's about ready to kill him until Lenny talks him out of it. From there, he does what we know him to do thanks to the main book: joining the Royal Marines and serving in the Falklands War.

Garth Ennis does much with a book that, as of this issue, doesn't feature much action. It's all really dialogue, with only veiled threats and off-screen battering that drive home the tension. Ennis doesn't shy away from social horrors, with Sam's wife-beating pulling the horror movie card; what you don't see has to be more horrible than what you would see. This isn't to say Darick Robertson couldn't masterfully pull of a caved-in skull, but he gets to show off one of his talents; the sly smile of Billy at the reader. The duo of Ennis and Robertson are a great one, and it's good to see them both tackling a miniseries that could have easily been drawn by another.

There's no real flaws with this book. As the beginning of an origin story, it works fine, if not sped up just slightly. Presumably, we saw all of his adolescence in this issue. The only slight annoyance is the disparate jumping around at times; it begins with Billy in the Falklands War, continues to him in the present day at his father's death, and then narrates his early childhood up to him entering the Royal Marines. It's all easy to follow, but the Falklands bit seems like it belongs elsewhere. If anything, the book works fine for those who don't know anything about The Boys; consider this the origin tale of a character who would later lead an anti-superhero task force, and you have a great introductory story.

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