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Butcher With A Smile 1 Main

"Butcher with a Smile #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Covenant of Horror Comics

butcher with a smile 1 00

Written by Tom Guilfoyle
Illustrated by Matt Fair
2019, 28 Pages


Agents Taylor and Grey are chasing down a serial killer. This is no ordinary murderer though. There's something supernatural at work and these two are the only ones that seem to have a clue. With their jobs on the line, they'll have to bend the rules and possibly break them if they hope to bring this killer to justice.

Who doesn't love a crime procedural? Throw in a supernatural twist and Butcher with a Smile should be a no-brainer. While there are some great elements at work, the comic doesn't quite come together in a cohesive fashion. For example, we're told in the introduction that the killer has been leaving his victims with a huge smile, however the first one we actually see, towards the end of the book, has half of his head removed and a gaping mouth. No smile is detected. There isn't much to point towards this smile factor outside of that intro.

Click image to enlarge

Additionally, we're told that Taylor and Grey work on the unexplainable cases, yet their own department seems to scoff at this and actively works against them. There seems to be a major disconnect between what the introduction lays out and how the story actually unfolds. I'm not a huge fan of these kinds of text prologues for comics, as you should be able to explain a lot of this in the book itself without having to rely on some homework to get started.

Taylor and Grey's actual detective skills leave something to be desired. They mean well but seem pretty clueless as to how to do their job. This is set in Manhattan and there are a number of things that just wouldn't fly in anything close to a normal murder case. Granted, these are supposed to be abnormal cases, but that doesn't excuse their actions.

The demonic elements to Butcher with a Smile are intriguing, guided by artist Matt Fair. What few glimpses we get at this creature are rather disturbing. It sports a huge, sinister grin with tons of razor sharp teeth. It's like its jaw unhinges to eat its prey whole. Fair uses shadow well in these sequences, shrouding the monster's face is darkness to only show its glaring eyes and its menacing smile.

Click images to enlarge

While these shots are top notch, some of the more run-of-the-mill sequences are a little rough. People are often shown in awkward or unnatural positions or the angles are off. It gives a sloppy appearance.

There is not a letterer credited with Butcher with a Smile #1. There's a cliché saying about lettering that you only notice it when it's done poorly. The placement in this book isn't horrible, but there is a lot of room for improvement. The word balloons are often askew, meaning people are speaking in the wrong order or over one another. This messes up the flow of dialogue and can take you out of the reading experience.

Butcher with a Smile could have some real potential. It's about time we get something like The X-Files again. As it stands, the comic feels a little rushed and could do with another pass to clean things up from top to bottom. We're not invested with these characters or this monster, so there's no emotional backing to the story.


Story: onestar Cover
Art: oneandahalfstars
Overall: 1 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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