It’s easy to look at BRZRKR and see an action series that revels in the blood, gore, and over-the-top kills. But, when you sit down and read the comics, it’s far more. There’s a surprising amount of heart and focus on character for the series that was a clear tentpole pitch from the start. It’s a tentpole that is far better than expected. Beyond the introduction in the first issue, the second, and now BRZRKR #3, focus on B and his past. While we learn more about this character we also get a sense of his weariness. This is a warrior who is tired of the killing and wants to find peace. He’s a weapon that deep down no longer wants to be used as one. There’s a surprising amount of sadness and loneliness to it all. And it’s also surprisingly depressing.
BRZRKR #3 focuses on B’s past as he recounts his early years as he’s pointed in the direction of his tribe’s enemies. Bodies pile up and he questions his mention. He also questions how others see him. Writers Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt focus a lot of the comic, and the previous, on the sadness of B.
What’s impressive is Reeves and Kindt pull this off in a cacophony of gore. BRZRKR #3 recounts battle after battle of B’s tribe where he’s sent in as a force of nature to destroy the masses. It’s a bloody visual where enemies are beaten to death with the stump of legs (literally). And through those visuals, we still feel sorry for B. The story shifts from one that’s pure action to one about the morality of using weapons, especially living ones. When does a soldier get to rest?
Ron Garney’s art feels like it channels Frank Miller in this issue. With color by Bill Crabtree and lettering by Clem Robins, the visuals are one of bloody battles. Bloody flies around, arrows stick out of B. The quiet of the issue are just breaks from the next adventure. And, even with all of that violence and bloody, it doesn’t distract. The way it’s all presented it feels a bit muted in the way enhancing the sadness of B. It doesn’t distract.
BRZRKR #3 is an impressive issue. It gives us a lot of action and pure destruction. But, it also focuses in on the impact of that all on a person. We get to see the weariness build. We get to see him question his role. It’s clear this is a series that’s about a soldier who no longer wants to fight but all he knows how to do is that. What started as a generic action story has developed into something far deeper.
Story: Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt Art: Ron Garney
Color: Bill Crabtree Letterer: Clem Robins
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review