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Comic Review: The Darkness: Butcher
Jack Bauerstein83   |  

Top Cow's Darkness: The ButcherThe Darkness: Butcher
Written by Rob Levin
Pencils by Michael Broussard
Colors by Larry Molinar
Letters by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions
Cover price: $3.99; On-sale: April 2, 2008

The Darkness: Butcher one-shot puts Darkness supporting character Butcher Joyce in his very own story. As friend of Darkness wielder Jackie Estacado and “cleaner” for the mob, Joyce’s life is far from ordinary and twice as dangerous. When the mysterious and deadly Mr. Nolan enters the picture, Joyce comes face to face with the consequences of working for the mob. It seems Mr. Nolan is in search of a certain gun used in a mob hit. A gun only Joyce would know the whereabouts of.

The overall look of The Butcher One Shot is eye-catching. Artist Michael Broussard‘s art is impressive. I like how his art invokes the style of Top Cow artists from the past such as David Finch and Tyler Kirkham but can also maintain its own identity. It complements the story but never overshadows it.

The writing is also solid. Writer Rob Levin crafts a story that is entertaining. Levin had a tall order on his hands when writing The Butcher. Taking a supporting character like Joyce who, as far as I know, has never starred in his own solo story before and creating an interesting story around him is a pretty impressive feat for anyone and Levin does it with grace. The dialogue was short and concise. It never over-explains, nor does it clutter up the artwork with multiple word balloons.

However, this comic is not perfect. There are some things that did not sit well with me. The story, while entertaining, was not what I expected. I have read several issues of The Darkness in the past, so I am somewhat familiar with the Joyce character. It bothered me slightly that, while the story was centered on Joyce, it didn’t give me any new information on him. Everything you know about Joyce is encapsulated into this story, which helps get new readers onboard with ease but might leave fans with a bitter taste in their mouths knowing they spent $3.99 on a potential throwaway story. Perhaps in the future, the story could somehow connect to Darkness or maybe it will be mentioned in the new series in future issues.

Also, the ending is very abrupt. The story spends 20-plus pages to build up Joyce and Nolan’s confrontation but in the end, things are sort of left in the air. (I hate to be so vague but I rather not ruin the ending for anyone who is interested in reading this but trust me, it will get you scratching your head). Also, the Jackie Estacado lookalike that shows up in the story seems too convenient even for a comic book.

While the book does have its share of good and bad qualities, I can confidently recommend this book to any and all comic readers. Why, you ask? Well, it fulfills all the necessary criteria for what a one shot should have. Does it provide an entertaining standalone story that any comic newbie can follow and enjoy? Yes, it does. Does it also provide a person familiar with the comic a decent story to read? It does, indeed. Plus, it also provides background on the Darkness character in the opening recap page and in the story; so new fans will be able to jump onboard the current series if they choose.

For these reasons alone, I would recommend this book to fans of the series and new fans. The writing is top-notch, the art gorgeous, and the story is a good introduction for anyone interested in picking up The Darkness series. Overall, The Darkness: Butcher is a book that needs only one shot to hook you.

1 Comment »

  1. For a comic that screams “photoshop” the cover is amazing.

    Comment by sir jorge — April 2, 2008 @ 9:45 pm

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