The Butcher of Paris #4 “Liberté” is the best issue in the series thus far with one remaining. It opens with a beautiful splash page where the citizens of Paris liberate their city, attacking Nazi tanks. The beautiful page, drawn by series artist Dean Kotz, is bisected by the President of France’s speech celebrating the occasion. Everything is looking up for France.
The investigation seems to be going well for Detective Massu and son too. They have a lead on where Petiot, the Butcher of Paris, is hiding out. They’ve also gotten the editor of a major newspaper to agree to run an article smearing Petiot on the front page. The elder Massu has high hopes that it will lure Petiot out of hiding. But that’s where things take a turn for the worse.
The editor has, understandably, reneged on his side of the deal. He asks, “You berate me for making the liberation front-page news?” Massu is furious, and things only get worse from there as series writer Stephanie Phillips keeps the hits coming.
While some previous issues of the series have felt like a holding pattern, everything changes in “Liberté.”
The series still doesn’t feel quite like true crime. Something like I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara goes into great depths about how the detectives searched for the killer, explaining the techniques they used. McNamara also talks about the killer’s modus operandi. Without those things, The Butcher of Paris feels more like an adventure story, or an episode of Law and Order. It lacks the weight the subject matter requires.
“Liberté” ends with two massive cliffhangers, but again, is the true story of a serial killer using the Holocaust to cover his murder of Jewish people the right place for fun storytelling techniques?
Wicked Rating – 6/10
Dark Horse’s The Butcher of Paris #4 “Liberté” comes out Wednesday, March 4th.