Butcher has always been a central draw to “The Boys.” This mini sets out to construct depth out of the inky mystery that made the main series so cool to begin with. It’s a tall order and it succeeds because of the structure Garth Ennis lays down for these tracks. In the opening issue, we got to know Butcher’s father. The next issue was the portrait of Butcher as a young man. This month, we get the one woman Butcher will ever love. There’s only one opportunity to tell these tales, and Ennis shows he’s still got what it takes to be one of the best.
There is a passion within Butcher that’s always been evident. His passion might currently be occupied with breaking super-powered scum, but we always knew there was a soft center within him once upon a time. Here, finally, we see what was worth so much that to lose it spent every drop of compassion Butcher would ever know. For such expectations, Ennis delivers a woman clearly deserving of all the years of wondering. Becky Saunders is an anachronistic creature in “The Boys” because she’s completely pure. There’s no menace, no self-serving attitude, no devious past, nothing but pure life and love as it should be.
Becky acts as a mirror held up to Butcher (something she actually does when they first meet) and points out his flaws. She then shows him all the ways he can improve these violent and self-loathing tics, and all the inherent good he harbors and ignores constantly. She toes the line of being too perfect and would cross it were it not for the finesse with which Ennis writes her and the situations he has her manipulate. A simple set up of a new sex position becomes a glorious awakening for our angry lead. It’s a difficult thing to show the bliss of a true love and Ennis, as well as artist Darick Robertson, do a sublime job.
It’s not all roses for Butcher upon sight of his angel. He is still an angry man with a very messed up family. The confrontation with his father, as the rest of the family aid the mother out of that toxic union, is a brilliant scene that explains Butcher’s problem completely. He’ll never get that shot at his father in his prime so you start to think maybe the Homelander, who is still in his prime, might be the final hurdle Butcher needs to get back at the world.
There are sex scenes and bruised eyes and broken old men for Robertson to bring to life in this issue. All these elements slot right into his wheelhouse and yet it’s the few pages he spends on a wedding day that are the highlight. He manages to truly show the majestic beauty of Becky, and he finally makes Butcher look happy. There’s no smirk, no laughter behind the violence. T his is just Butcher finally catching a break. It’s a great moment amongst years of many terrible scenes. When we get a ray of sunshine, it feels like an entire season of summer all in one page.
“Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker” has finally jumped up and asserted its claim to be the great story “The Boys” was waiting to tell all along. Butcher’s history couldn’t be a simple and predictable affair. While the whole aspect of Butcher meeting a perfect woman didn’t exactly come out of left field, it is the precision with which Ennis uses her that sets this issue above the others. The other minis for this title were drawn out fluff that disappointed, this book is quite the opposite. The first two issues were good and this one was fantastic. A pity we all know this happiness does not last so thanks to all for giving us at least this one entire issue to smile along with.