Dig, if you will, a picture of Burt Reynolds and Brock Sampson making sweet love on an American flag. In the middle of an Iraqi town square. Broadcast on YouTube. That’s the flavor of this comic, though not a specific scene. Butcher Baker is out to warp your mind. This comic is what haunted children in the 50s while Wertham was busy erecting defenses against wards of millionaires. This book is a melted mirror held up to this four color medium and the reflection is grotesque and amazing. It is truth, like it or not.
The last issue saw Butcher Baker blow up a maximum security prison. What a shame of pride, then, that he didn’t check to ensure the success of his job. A rogues gallery of goons and villains survive, and if you thought the lead character was a little bit out there then imagine what his dark opposites are like. The book was interesting enough before, but now with the inclusion of people like Jihad Jones and White Lightning, not to mention the molestation of Kirby that knows not pants, we have all just entered Funky Town for an extended visit.
The world of this title is expanded and definitively for the better. These villains actually feel like they can match up to the depravity of the hero and so the balance of the book is just. There shouldn’t be a boring part of this book, not even the corner of a transitional panel, and Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston deliver such high standards in this second issue. There’s a madcap race to kill the good guy afoot and it’s going to be like “Smokey and The Bandit” suddenly got made as a cartoon by Bob Rafelson.
Arnie B. Willard plays the role of the stupid law enforcer with indubitable aplomb. He sits with Butcher Baker without making the connection to the previous issue’s events and it’s almost sad. This cop couldn’t smell a lead if it was nine month old lint from his belly and he was nibbling his fingertips. You want to feel for this guy but watching life dog pile on him is just as much fun so you settle back and forget about his humanity.
Huddleston continues to make his mark with this comic as he switches gears for different scenes depending on the intent. Butcher Baker continues to get the light lines and the opposition get detailed color and depth. The flip between psychedelia and 70s magazine strips is brilliant and a perfect match.
Even though Butcher Baker is absent for half of this issue, you are still well satisfied. If you bought in to this title for the wickedly zany then you’re still getting a heaping served right here. Casey and Huddleston make this comic like it’s a cancer they must excise, or a life they must birth. Or both. It’s not a book that sets out to offend, it’s more than that, and it certainly entertains though it might just enlighten along its path as well. Enlighten our lives with [REDACTED] jokes and big old fleshy panels of [REDACTED].