A final issue with a turbulent yet satisfying road to the end of the line.

Review: THE BUTCHER OF PARIS #5: At Long Last, Justice

From writer Stephanie Phillips, artist Dean Kotz, colorist Jason Wordie, and letterer Troy Peteri comes the fifth and final issue of historical murder-thriller series “The Butcher of Paris.” This final chapter chronicling the final days of the serial killer Dr. Marcel Petiot is a frustratingly turbulent examination of due process that still brings about a satisfying end for all parties involved. With a stellar script and excellent visual work, “The Butcher of Paris #5” rounds out one of the most memorable series of its kind.

“Behind bars, Petiot proclaims himself a resistance fighter and patriot. As the trial begins, a new spectacle presents itself. With the magnitude of the murders coming to light, what possible justice can be served?”

Writing & Plot

Stephanie Phillips’ scripts in “The Butcher of Paris” have always played host to a delicate mix of historical political thriller, murder mystery, character drama, and horror. With this fifth and final chapter, she adds to that stable with a poignant treatise on the inner workings of the court as well as the gullible sensibilities of the bystander. Phillips goes out of her way to make Petiot as charming and clever as possible, to the point where out of context, one would deem him a likable chap. It is here that the frustrations in this issue are laid bare, as are the observations regarding the attraction to monsters. The court bystanders’ reaction to Petiot’s playful jabs is reminiscent of the modern attraction to more contemporary serial killers. Meta commentary aside, the climactic final showdown between Detective Massau and Dr. Petiot is a riveting and wholly satisfying affair that ends the only way it can – in dismemberment.

Art Direction

“The Butcher of Paris” has been gifted with the unique art of Dean Kotz. This final issue features some of his best work on the series yet, with detailed character facial models and atmospheric environmental art. His signature character designs are full of life in terms of emotional range, and offer a somewhat cinematic view of the story’s cast. The world of 1940’s Paris is drawn with a detail that draws the reader into the setting. Kotz is helped by the colorwork of Jason Wordie, whose choice of shading post-war Paris in rust-colored hues adds a tone specific to this comic that further envelops the reader into the bloody world the story explores. This aesthetic is finished by the jagged lettering of Troy Peteri, whose fonts add venom to the words spoken by the Butcher Petiot. The outstanding visual work is pitch-perfect for this kind of comic, and it’s an element worth picking up all on its own.

“The Butcher of Paris” #5 is a poignant finish to this unique and suspenseful mini-series. Stephanie Phillips’ script offers an intense final bout for both the hero detective and the titular killer, while also doling out some contemporary meta-commentary. Dean Kotz stylistic touch is full of detail, and with the help of Wordie’s colors and Peteri’s letters creates a series that is as visually striking as it is a thrill to read. Be sure to pick up this penultimate issue from your local comic shop on 5/27!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
Review: THE BUTCHER OF PARIS #5: At Long Last, JusticeA final issue with a turbulent yet satisfying road to the end of the line.