Note: This review might contain spoilers. Please read at you own risk.
Whether it’s Speed or The Matrix trilogy or John Wick, Keanu Reeves is a name synonymous with great action movies. Fans have been following the renowned actor since he first appeared on the screen back in the 1980s. Now, after a few delays, fans of Reeves have a new genre to follow him on – comics. Teaming up with veteran writer Matt Kindt and artist Richard Garney, they released BRZRKR from publisher Boom Studios. BRZRKR centers on B, a powerful being considered to be part man and part god who has made his way to the U.S. to walk amongst the mortals in the hopes of becoming mortal himself.
The issue begins quite quiet. There’s little through most of the first portion of the issue. But there is obviously a background conversation occurring, hinting that the panels readers are seeing occurred in the past. The lack of dialogue, however, is easily compensated by the level of action the reader receives from page to page. Veteran artist Ron Garney provides some great illustrations that Bill Crabtree lays some terrific colors to. Garney, who has drawn comics and covers for such characters like Wolverine, the Hulk, and other Marvel, does some serious action illustrations. The motions and the angles he used from panel to panel does more than enough to provide details of what is happening in the issue. Once Crabtree applies colors, you can truly see the extent of the gore throughout this issue. This is a truly gory story. However, the transition from panel to panel and from page to page flows well. You don’t get lost in trying to figure out B’s mission.
One can’t be blamed from reading this story in the voice of B as that of Keanu Reeves. From the many covers drawn for this book, plus the interior art, everything about BRZRKR screams an action movie with Reeves as the lead actor. It’s safe to assume that this was by design, especially after Netflix announced a BRZRKR feature starring Reeves himself.
Throughout the majority of the 40-page story, we see all there is to know about the lead character. He is exceptionally good at what he does, conducting missions with nothing more than his bare hands. His hands are lethal weapons, containing the ability to tear a man (literally) from limb to limb. The pages of his mission show nothing but B smashing heads, punching through soldiers’ bodies, decapitating them all with his bare hands. He also can’t be killed. One panel, he gets his nose blown off. Another panel, he charbroils his hand while holding it against a soldier – while holding a hand grenade. He even blows himself up driving a Humvee into an airplane, just to complete the mission.
While we see much of what makes B a god, we also see his human side. Despite have the inability to be kill, B can have physical damage done to him, By the time the story reaches its end, B is terribly burned. His nose is missing. His hand has been blown to pieces. He finds himself on an operating table having himself put back together. His wounds take time to heal. He is clearly human, but something more.
The conversation, which is primarily a one-way conversation to B (with some responses from him), also serves as sort of a back-story. The person talking the B, a doctor, perhaps a therapist, who has been treating him for the past year. They discuss several things, including some breakthrough she picked up from the last mission. B recognized a change as well. The immortal one is starting to regain his memory. In particular, he remembers being born 80,000 years ago.
This is quite an interesting story that leaves just enough questions to make a reader come back for the second issue and more. How did B find himself with the U.S. government to serve as a one-man army and is the government truly trying to clone him? More importantly, what is this “protocol” he’s being treated with. Is it something to help them reach their final goal of a success clone or is it something to help him reach his ultimate goal – mortality? there is more than enough to look forward to the next issue.