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The Boys created by Garth Ennis has a very alternate take on superheroes comics where the focus is not on the men and women in tights but rather on a small group of CIA backed individuals who are tasked to keep these so-called heroes in control by whatever means they can . These 'Boys' are led by Billy Butcher, who hates a world filled with 'supes' going unchecked and unaccountable for their actions. A man who is not afraid of taking those powerful individuals through blackmail. torture or even further.
For those who have followed the Boys from the beginning, Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker is a kind of unnecessary mini-series that delves a bit more on Butcher's past . Unnecesary does not mean the series is bad or worthless, it is just that Butcher is the sort of tough guy badass character that does not warrant to have seperate issues which simply brushed aside the mysteries that has been created around him in the main series such as why he hates superheroes so much and what are his motives in trying to track them down.
While the story is captivating on its own with its own emotional touches and additional background where Butcher is trying to fit into a new group, it sort of retreads the same old story from the main issues with Butcher taking on the role of Hughie who is a new recruit in the Boys under the wings of Butcher himself. The story itself is quite captivating and links itself well with the world created by Ennis glimpsed by the presence of bizarre superheroes with weird personalities that totally go against what we knew about comics books super protagonists. We also gets to see a different side of Butcher compared to the the no-nonsense badass British guy who is not afraid to open his mouth. Here, he is still on the learning curve while still coping with the loss of his wife.
The humour, crass dialogue and cynism are all present and will certainly delight fans of the series but is sort of let down by the artwork by Darrick Robertson which sometimes feel inconsistent compared to the the main issues.
Billy Butcher is an enjoyable character that surely have its own support among fans and for those who want a bit more of the supes-filled world created by Garth Ennis, this could be a decent and quick read to have while waiting for new issues but if you want a mini series with the same expectations as the main storyline, it is better to look away.
Prequel is not a term that goes well with fans and as Butcher, Baker Candlestickmaker seems more a publishing move than a creative one, it is still manage to be entertaining and if you follow the series from ground zero, then a little side story distraction will not be harmful