Comic Review: OINK – Heaven’s Butcher (Dark Horse Comics, 2015)

OINK: Heaven’s Butcher


John Mueller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a comic I read more out of curiosity than anything else. And I was all the more surprised by it when I was a few pages in and then I kept reading.
Apparently a fresh printing, this is a striking little comic.

Telling the dark and twisted story of a future human world that for those of us in the actual one, starts off as grotesque and horrifying but as we get to the how and why, takes on a new veneer.

In this world, we meet our protagonist, Oink, who is one of a whole sub-society of Pig-Man who live in bonded labour from birth to death. They are educated only to the extent needed to read man’s holy books and lessons, they labour to the bone for their human overlords who are the inhabitants of “heaven” and they even oversee the destruction of their own kind. The social structure and its enforcement are very effectively rendered despite the fairly quick nature of the story and its impressive how creator John Mueller manages to inject so much emotional impact on the reader, starting with the build up to and the moment when our hero has his “awakening” and starts his journey toward becoming the titular Butcher.

The brutality and grimy nature of it all is only enhanced by the artwork. There is emotion and a raw energy that almost oozes out of the whole story. It’s a tale that both in its narrative and visuals is terrible and makes you feel something under the skin but not in the sense of cliched horror or something shocking of that nature.
It’s all horribly dystopic but I must admit that the tale as a whole is more than you’d expect as it touches on a whole array of contexts and concepts that are deeply human and unpleasant. From the bondage of a whole race to the religious persecutions and dogma, the rhetoric, the savagery and more – there’s an eerie nature to it all that rings a little too close to home and our own human history and society.

At its core, it’s a very entertaining story and well crafted from start to finish. Very well constructed in every way, I found it extremely engaging despite the harsh and dark nature of it. I did not know the work of John Mueller prior to this series but this made me want to seek out more of his works.

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