"The Butcher Of Paris" is a very WWII model of a modern major crime procedural

Script: Stephanie Phillips, Artist: Dean Kotz, Colorist: Jason Wordie, Letterer: Troy Peteri, Cover: Dave Johnson.

It’s interesting how often my search for the POP Cover Of The Week feature will reveal a title that I had never considered reading before. This week’s COTW pick was a good example, with my discovery of The Butcher Of Paris #3, from Dark Horse Comics.

I love comics that have a basis in historical fact, like this one, based on an actual serial killer stalking Occupied France during WWII. That the series is written by Stephanie Phillips (The Descendent) was a big incentive.

As with Jack the Ripper, this assailant’s skills mark him as having a medical background, and the French authorities and the Gestapo are homing in on one suspect in particular.

The suspect brazenly plays a cat-and-mouse game with the authorities trying to catch him

Flashback sequences reveal the disturbed past of the suspect, and present day interviews with friends and family take on a Rashomon quality.

Whether intentional or not, the art of Dean Kotz in this series is composed of very sharp strokes, jagged daggers of linework that add to the feeling of unease and danger. He wisely picks a wide variety of angles to more interestingly depict what could be a dull interrogation scene.

The palette of colorist Jason Wordie is suitably muted, except for splashes of vibrancy to highlight the emotion of certain scenes, like interrogations under hot lights. His painterly backgrounds add visual interest and almost become a character of their own.

The lettering of Troy Peteri is distinctive, has some (ahem) character, and is not as generic-looking as most other custom created lettering fonts. Curiously, it leans slightly to the left, as if created by a lefthanded letterer.

Writer Stephanie Phillips makes this series into a WWII version of a modern criminal procedural, which American audiences can’t seem to get enough of, especially on television. She makes interesting observations in her characters’ discussions about criminal psychology, and war strategy where the importance of cultivating winning ideas is just as important if not more so, than just winning ground. She and Kotz have created an entertaining true crime miniseries that you should add to your pull list.

The Butcher of Pair #3 (of 5) from Dark Horse Comics is available February 5, 2020.

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