Every once in a while, I get a thought in my head that basically says: “Hey, what’s the deal with that character? What’s he all about?”
Well, that thought cropped up recently while I was enjoying DC Comics “52” comic that featured the debut and death of a character they called Super-Chief.
Super-Chief was a mystically empowered Native American. In the history of DC comics, there really isn’t many others — Apache Chief, Black Condor (I think) and a few others.
One of those “others” is The Butcher.
Well, after seing Super-Chief’s demise, the little comic-fan inside my head asked “”Hey, what’s the deal with The Butcher? What’s he all about?”
So I went digging and came up with the 5-issue mini-series by Mike Baron and Shea Anton Pensa. I haven’t yet re-read “The Brave and the Bold,“ another mini, but I’ll get to that sometime soon.
Without further adieu, here’s what I can tell you about “The Butcher” mini and his Who’s Who entry:
- The art was terrible. The artist had several nice covers, but his interior work was sub par. The main problem was that he just couldn’t draw faces or hair.
- The story was so-so, but it certainly had potential for further development. The basics: Butcher’s parents were killed by thugs hired by an evil corporation and Butcher vows revenge. His quest reveals that the corporation is cheating the U.S. government on Defense contracts.
- The Butcher, aka John Butcher, is an Indian who is trained in ninjitsu skills by an Asian man named Tsunami (ugh)
- His Who’s Who entry says he is trained in Okinawan techniques as well as Filipino knife and stick fighting.
- Butcher’s other big advantage is that he routinely gets visions that help guide him.
- Butcher is ex-Army Intelligence.
- Butcher’s uniform has a parachute-like device built inside of it.
- The Who’s Who entry for The Butcher says his enhanced “spirituality” have boosted his skills as a tracker and woodsman.
- Tsunami also helped train Green Arrow. This might be referenced in other Green Arrow stories.
- Green Arrow makes an appearance in the story, helping Butcher and Tsunami in their assault on an evil corporation.
- At the end of the series, Butcher asks Green Arrow to train him in the ways of the bow.
- Several letter-writers to the letters page suggest that The Butcher is DC’s answer to The Punisher. It doesn’t appear that writer Mike Baron was heading that way, but it certainly would be plausible.
- And yes, there were several jokes about finding the Baker and the Candlestick-Maker.
What’s The Butcher up to nowadays? Beats me. He sure would make an excellent Knight in the newly reformed Checkmate organization. It might be neat to see him show up as a Birds of Prey operative or in the pages of “Green Arrow.”
With DC’s new focus on ethnic diversity among their characters, any of those options could be in the cards.