Review – BRZRKR #1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Artist: Ron Garney
Colourist: Bill Crabtree
Letterer: Clem Robins
Release Date: February 2021
I was excited to review BRZRKR #1 as I have been looking forward to its release since it was announced. I mean, how could you not at least be curious about an original comic book written by and starring everyone’s favourite person, Keanu Reeves?
Admittedly, it may be somewhat of a morbid curiosity as many consider the series to be nothing more than a marketing gimmick by Boom! Studios in order to cash in on the, “wholesome Keanu,” meme. However, upon reading the issue, you may be pleasantly surprised.
As long as you don’t go in expecting something cerebral here, then Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt’s writing is totally serviceable. As expected, we are treated to an incredibly formulaic opening that even features the classic cliché of the hero jumping out of an aircraft without a parachute and managing to land totally unscathed.
The ensuing over-the-top action scene lets the reader know exactly why he is called BRZRKR as we see him ripping off arms and stabbing a henchman with another guy’s spine. The sequence is a lot of fun and discloses to the reader exactly the type of series we are in for going forward.
This scene takes up roughly the first two thirds of the issue and features a good number of pages with hardly any text. Unfortunately this means that a good portion of the pages in the issue are almost devoid of any text bar a few voiceover lines from a conversation happening in the aftermath of the opening sequence.
This is something that may change going forward as more issues are released, but in the first issue at least, I found the character of BRZRKR very hard to relate to. This is most likely down to the fact that he is a predominately mute killing machine for the vast majority of this first issue. Hopefully, this is something that Keanu and Matt Kindt will expand on as the series progresses.
The concept of the character is also far from original. There were several times in the issue where I was reminded of Wolverine and the characters from The Old Guard, but the property it is most similar to is Bloodshot. In saying that though, originality isn’t everything and this is a remarkably fun take on the concept of an immortal soldier.
Rob Garney’s artwork in the issue has a scraggly, rough aesthetic to it that I really enjoyed. I felt that the unpolished style suited the story being told and the character at the centre of it. There are also some striking 3 panel pages and splash pages that are awesome to look at. Something else I enjoyed the depiction of gore in the book, which had a certain fluidity to it whenever it was on display. Also it was nice to see a brief homage to the “sad Keanu,” meme.
I also thought that Garney captured the likeness of Keanu Reeves really well and although it was unmistakably Keanu, the character’s look never detracted from the plot in any sort of detrimental way. The environmental artwork also allowed the reader to keep up with all off the fluid action and fighting happening on the page. At no point did I feel confused as to where we were in the environment.
The one aspect of the artwork that I felt there was room for improvement in was the colouring. Bill Crabtree uses a lot of reds and other hot colours here. This would be fine as it adds a certain intensity to the artwork, but it is used in an overabundance to the point where it becomes difficult to discern what is happening in certain panels. There are certain objects that just don’t stand out and end up blending into the background due to some of the choices made by Crabtree.
Overall, I enjoyed getting to review BRZRKR #1. It is a fun first issue that any fan of over-the-top action comics will thoroughly enjoy. It is not going to deliver a highbrow look at what it means to be mortal in the way that Watchmen does, but at the same time it is not trying to. It is trying to be an in-your-face action comic full of fun and it totally delivers on this front.
Check out our rating of BRZRKR #1 below and leave a comment or your own rating.
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