Most comics would do something special for their fiftieth issue. And they’d tell you all about it. Here, we just get Part 3 of the latest storyline, and no major fanfare. But make no mistake, this issue is pretty special. You might as well consider this the origin tale of Butcher, or at least the Butcher we know now. Everything that happens here informs the current relationship Butcher has with supers, but also with his own role in the world.
This issue continues the flashback with Butcher, and the rest of the team, serving under Mallory. The dynamic of the team, and their statement of purpose, seems to have been much more muzzled under previous leadership. As the team devolves, Butcher realizes he was never going to get his shot at revenge and this directly informs us as to how and why he is so adamant on getting back at The Seven. The dialogue and action here adds layers to so much that chronologically comes later. Butcher is a man on a mission and you can see it’s probably his only chance so he’ll see whatever is coming through to the end.
A stand-off between The Seven and The Boys is always going to be one of my favorite things. This issue gives us a great double page splash, soaked in blood, that shows how these two titanic teams previously looked upon one another. This isn’t superhero theatrics, this is politics, and so it’s all much more deadly. Trade-offs are made that cost people their lives and usually it all happens behind closed doors and no one is truly satisfied. The art of their war isn’t so much in the sky with their fists as it is in a locked room with their words. You can only hope Butcher will bring a little spontaneity to it all before the series ends.
I have said it far too often but Russ Braun deserves the credit in each and every issue he draws. His acting is spot on, his action and gore are unsettling, and his dedication to this title is stupendous. I have no complaints about the job he is doing and only want to shower him with praise for keeping this title afloat so admirably.
The pin ups and interviews in the back are a great little hit of anniversary issue supplemental material. It’s nice to see a little something extra in this comic, even though you’ll come for the main show and you’ll appreciate that the most.
With fifty issues down, we know this world completely. We now know how it all started. The only thing left is to watch it come tumbling down, and this issue points a thick finger to the fact that such destruction is about the only satisfying conclusion Butcher would ever wish for. He knows if you leave anyone alive the whole bureaucratic process will only replicate itself in a new form. There is no way Butcher will leave a scrap of work for anyone else to complete or replicate. This is a look at the mentality of the man engineering the end game. Lord, and anything more powerful, help them all.