REVIEW: ‘BRZRKR,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

BRZRKR #1

BRZRKR #1 is written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt, illustrated by Ron Garney, colored by Bill Crabtree, and lettered by Clem Robbins. It is published by BOOM! Studios. A mysterious mercenary known only as “B” has lived for centuries, with no memory of his life before the modern-day. B uses his superhuman strength and fighting skills to undertake black ops missions for the U.S. Government in exchange for a solution to his immortality.

Reeves is obviously best known for his Hollywood career, starring in films including The Matrix and John Wick. Now he adds “comic book writer” to his resume-and unlike other celebrity-led comics, he’s willing to put in the work.  Joining Reeves on writing duties is Kindt, who has tackled espionage fiction before with Mind MGMT for Dark Horse Comics and Ninjak for Valiant. Together they provide a solid if derivative premise that doesn’t skimp on the action and mystery.

I say “derivative” because the idea of the tortured immortal is nothing new. From the cast of The Old Guard to the X-Men’s Wolverine to even Wonder Woman herself, fiction is packed full of beings either gifted or cursed with long lives who have grown weary of humanity and all its trappings. Granted, there’s an extra wrinkle with B working for the government, but I hope future issues work hard to separate this series from the pack.

Garney, another comic veteran with titles including Captain America and Wolverine under his belt, serves as the main series artist. Garney’s art has a rough, kinetic vibe to it-at times, and I was reminded of Frank Miller’s early work on The Dark Knight Returns. He also perfectly captures Reeves’ likeness-just if it wasn’t clear, this was a passion project for Reeves. There’s even a reference to the “Sad Keanu” meme! (I am totally serious.)

Garney’s art is also immensely violent. Faces disintegrate into ground meat, the flesh is burned to a smoking black crisp, and B even rips out an enemy’s rib and stabs another guy in the neck with it. This is the kind of bloody action that defined the John Wick franchise, and considering those films’ success; it’s no surprise that Reeves would want to tap into the same energy with BRZRKR.

Rounding out the artistic team is Crabtree on colors. Crabtree mainly uses black, red, and blue in his palette, setting up a series of striking images. A sequence, in the beginning, features heavy rain and is shrouded in blue, giving off a somber mood. And whenever someone dies, the background flashes red, with black silhouettes depicting the gore. This is an amazing-looking comic, and Crabtree is a large part of why that’s the case.

BRZRKR #1 is a solid debut for Keanu Reeves’s comic book career, featuring an engaging yet well-worn premise and plenty of bloody battles. Fans of the John Wick series or The Old Guard will definitely want to check it out, and it’s definitely one of the more interesting celebrity-helmed comics I’ve seen on the stands.

BRZRKR #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

BRZRKR #1
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TL;DR

BRZRKR #1 is a solid debut for Keanu Reeves’s comic book career, featuring an engaging yet well-worn premise and plenty of bloody battles. Fans of the John Wick series or The Old Guard will definitely want to check it out, and it’s definitely one of the more interesting celebrity-helmed comics I’ve seen on the stands.