Creator: Keanu Reeves
Writer: Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt
Illustrations: Ron Garney
Colors: Bill Crabtree
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover: Rafael Grampa
Character Designs: Rafael Grampa and Ron Garney
Editor: Eric Harburn and Matt Gagnon
Publisher: Boom! Studios
A couple of months ago I heard that Keanu Reeves was involved with a creative team and working on giving us a new title. Yes, THAT Keanu Reeves. Neo/Constantine/John Wick has gone from playing a comic book character to writing one. Pure curiosity had me ask my local comic book store to add “BRZRKR” to my pull list.
It’s a good thing I did. When I picked up my pulls on new comic book day this past Wednesday the store didn’t have any more copies available. The rack had already been cleared. The only ones left were in the stacks with other customers’ pulls. This was 40 minutes after the store opened. I haven’t seen a new title fly off the shelves like that since the “Last Ronin”.
The main character in our story is a warrior named Berzerker. He is a half-mortal and half-God being that is cursed in being so full of battle lust that all rationale and sanity are complete afterthoughts. He has walked the Earth for centuries with vivid memories of moments throughout the history of mankind. He remembers the smell of the Black Death, the sound of swords cutting into flesh in battle, and the smell of a torch being touched to tar and feather.
None of that matters now. Berzerker is working for the United States government. They have promised to give him what he wants in exchange for completing a handful of missions. After a year he’s still doing missions and awaiting payment. The American government wouldn’t try to pull a fast one on Berzerker, would they?
Artwork: .75 Stars
There are 45 different covers for this issue. That’s a lot of variants. I have the standard “cover A” and think the character on the cover while bearing a striking resemblance to an actor on the creative team, looks rather impressive. You can see Berzerker is a force to be reckoned with just from watching him march fearlessly towards his objective. The detail on the bandages was a nice touch.
Without knowing the story going in seeing Berzerker on the cover reminded me of Boromir in Fellowship of the Ring. The man looks like a human pin cushion for sharp and pointy weapons. My second thought was if someone killed this guy’s dog and then did this to him they are in for a world of hurt.
The artwork on the interior pages reminds me a lot of “Die! Die! Die!”. Some panels are very vivid. Some leave you wanting more detail. Then there are the panels that the artist used their discretion because there is quite a bit of blood and violence in this issue.
Story: .75 Stars
I found this story to be rather intriguing. An immortal working as a United States soldier/C.I.A. spook is what small press-published comic books are all about. I love the originality of the story so far. I would like to see some more character development in future issues.
Dialogue: .5 Stars
There are a couple of comments from characters in awe of what Berzerker has done in a particular panel. Aside from that the dialogue almost completely comes across like a narrative. It doesn’t become clear until very late in the issue who is speaking and who is expected to be listening.
Editing: .75 Stars
I don’t know if I would have used the particular font that the letterer chose to use. That is just a matter of style preference though. When it’s all said and done the font is legible and done in a color that does not blend into the background. A couple more editor’s notes along the way would have been helpful to give the reader a better idea of the setting.
Mechanics: .75 Stars
Watching Berzerker in combat is like watching a mashup of Juggernaut and the Undertaker. He absolutely lays waste to everything in his path. There’s a lot of action in “BRZRKR” #1, which helps it move along at a very quick pace. While we get hints that things are going to get much more intense, there is never a true sense of urgency in this one. I look forward to the prospect of possibly seeing something that can stop Berzerker in his tracks.
“BRZRKR” #1 comes with a $4.99 price. To me, that was very reasonable. You are getting a relatively thick book that is limited to 5 pages (sides, not front and back) of advertising. All of the previously mentioned advertising is in the back of the book and does not interfere with the story. I will definitely be on the lookout for “BRZRKR” #2 when it hits the shelves.