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Review: BRZRKR #2

BRZRK2 #2

BRZRKR has been an interesting series so far. While entertaining, the comic feels like a blatant pitch for a film (which is coming along with an animated series). While not a horrible thing, there’s a focus on big exciting sequences that will play well on screen but not as much in a static image. The first issue teased the concept of the story, playing out like an opening act full of action to suck you in. BRZRKR #2 dials things back a bit focusing on its main character B and giving us an origin story somewhat.

Now working for the US government, the immortal B is an ultimate warrior able to get into harm’s way, take damage, and eventually heal. The first issue hinted at it, but it’s BRZRKR #2 where we experience the profound sadness B has experienced in his life. With a story by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt, the second issue has B talking to a doctor recounting what he remembers of his life. He talks about his early years and what he was told about his birth. While specifics aren’t given, there are hints as to the character’s origin and where his immortality comes from.

What we learn about B is that he was a warrior from birth. There’s a “feral” nature about him. And, like any weapon, he needs to be focused and pointed in the right direction. Without that sort of guidance, he seems to fall deep into the death and destruction he’s fueled by. We also get a sense this isn’t the life he wants. There are some interesting phrases thrown out and discussions, but it’s clear B is tired of his very long life. There’s some sympathy conveyed and empathy for us to give towards the living weapon.

And it’s impressive in some ways. Ron Garney’s art delivers a symphony of destruction. Blood flies as people are eviscerated in battle in gruesome ways. With color by Bill Crabtree, there’s a splattering of red as B goes on a path of destruction multiple times in the issue. But, the art also delivers a sadness through it all. The visuals show us the weariness and tiredness of B as he recounts his story. The weight of his life is clear in his body language and facial expressions.

BRZKR #2 is an interesting issue. It dials back the violence and action delivering a focus on the origin of the main character. While it keeps up some action, the focus is more on the character than the visuals like the debut. What happens next will be intriguing as the series has shaken up expectations of what comes next.

Story: Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt Art: Ron Garney
Color: Bill Crabtree Letterer: Clem Robins
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Batman: The Detective #1

Batman: The Detective #1

Bat-computer, queue “Holliday Road” because it’s “Batman’s European Vacation”! Batman: The Detective #1 kicks off a European mystery for Batman as a Wayne Airlines jet goes down due to terrorist action. This gets Bruce, as Batman, out of the Batcave and across the ocean to figure who is behind the attack and why.

The story is a good one with a simple action and mystery to it that feels like a fun, self-contained story. With an opening that’s worthy of the big screen, writer Tom Taylor balances things well. There’s an emphasis on a Batman who has been beaten down. He’s older, and slower, than his opponents. But, he still has the skill the rely upon and defeat the enemy. It forces Taylor to dance between the detective aspect of the character and that of the skilled fighter. By, the issue’s end, Batman has figured out what stands out about the individuals on the downed plane but not why. And in-between figuring that out, there’s fantastic action serquences.

The art is by Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson on color and Clem Robins on lettering. The art has a bit of a retro-feel to it in a good way. The art and story together remind me a bit of the oversized Batman comics I read growing up where a story was wrapped up in two-issues. Kubert delivers a punch, literally. The action sequences are big and the fights sequences solid. Kubert and the team also capture a broken Batman. Bruce looks worn down and tired, Kubert captures this perfectly. You can see and “feel” the pain.

Batman: The Detective #1 is a fun start to a self-contained Batman story. It takes him to unfamiliar territory and seems to mix his different aspects well. It’s a nice break from the greater macro Batman story taking place currently in other series. There’s some that’s a bit classic about it, a comic you can just pick up and enjoy.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Andy Kubert
Ink: Andy Kubert Color: Brad Anderson Letterer: Clem Robins
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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BRZRKR #1 Goes Back for a Fourth Printing

BOOM! Studios has announced that BRZRKR #1, the historic premiere issue of the original comic book series from the iconic Keanu Reeves and New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt, acclaimed artist Ron Garney, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, about an immortal being’s eternal struggle with the hidden truth behind his existence,  has sold out of the second printing at the distributor level! The inaugural issue has already sold over 615,000 copies at the distributor level, making it the highest-selling original comic book launch in almost thirty years.

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has announced the BRZRKR #1 Fourth Printing will be another foil edition featuring brand new cover art by Rafael Grampá.

The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-god, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity.  But after wandering the world for centuries, B. may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

BRZRKR #1 Fourth Printing will be available exclusively at local comic book shops on May 19, 2021.

BRZRKR #1 FOURTH PRINTING

A Brutal Look Into B.’s Prehistoric Past in BRZRKR #2

BOOM! Studios has revealed a brand new first look at BRZRKR #2, the highly anticipated next chapter of the twelve-issue limited series from Keanu Reeves in his comic book writing debut alongside co-writer Matt Kindt, artist Ron Garney, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, available on April 28, 2021.

U.S. government doctor Diana Ahuja seeks to unlock the mysterious B.’s  memories – lifetimes of violence and tragedy like no one else who has ever lived that began with a fateful decision 80,000 years ago. But is Diana here to help him…or is she serving a darker agenda?

BRZRKR #2 features main cover art by superstar illustrator Rafael Grampá and variant cover art by Rafael Albuquerque, and John Paul Leon.

BRZRKR #2

Dark Horse To Publish Falconspeare Created by Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell

This fall, Dark Horse Comics will publish Falconspeare, an original graphic novel featuring Mike Mignola and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell’s characters Professor J.T. Meinhardt, Mr. Knox, and Ms. Mary Van Sloan. This eerie Victorian-style mystery delivers horror, humor, and the kind of off-kilter, charming twists that fans have come to expect. Monster hunters extraordinaire Professor Meinhardt, Mr. Knox, and Ms. Van Sloan have teamed up to slay spooks and investigate the uncanny before, but now they’ll tackle a question that’s haunted them for years: What happened to their friend and vampire slayer extraordinaire, James Falconspeare?

Falconspeare is written and drawn by acclaimed artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, with lettering by Clem Robins and a cover by Mignola and Eisner Award-winning colorist Dave Stewart.

Like the previous graphic novels, Falconspeare features the signature loose, expressive style of cartoonist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell in a standalone story that builds on the characters’ previous adventures. It is set outside both the Hellboy Universe and the Outerverse. Falconspeare will be on sale from Dark Horse Books in comic shops on September 29, 2021 and in bookstores on October 12, 2021.

Falconspeare

BRZRKR #1 Sells Out and Gets a Second Printing

BOOM! Studios have announced that BRZRKR #1, the historic premiere issue of the original comic book series from the iconic Keanu Reeves and New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt, acclaimed artist Ron Garney, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, about an immortal being’s eternal struggle with the hidden truth behind his existence,  has sold out at the distributor level! The inaugural issue has already sold over 615,000 copies at the distributor level, making it the highest-selling original comic book launch in almost thirty years.

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios have announced the BRZRKR #1 Second Printing with brand new variant cover art by series artist Ron Garney.

The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-god, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity.  But after wandering the world for centuries, B. may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

BRZRKR #1 Second Printing will be available exclusively at local comic book shops on April 7, 2021.

BRZRKR #1 Second Printing

Review: BRZRKR #1

BRZRKR #1

“Wake the fuck up, samurai. We have a city to burn.”- Cyberpunk 2077

Legendary actor/the Internet’s boyfriend Keanu Reeves teams up with co-writer Matt Kindt, artist Ron Garney, and colorist Bill Crabtree for BRZRKR #1. The premise is simple: a possibly divine immortal is fighting and killing for the United on various black ops missions for the opportunity to become mortal. As shown in this first issue, Berzerker is a single-minded killer, who will stab someone to death with their own bones or get blown up to finish a mission. However, BRZRKR #1 also shows he may have a shred of humanity beneath all the grisly violence and terse dialogue, and it’s the series’ biggest wild card as well as its hook along with the slow unveiling of Berzerker’s past, who is more Christian Walker than Wolverine. He’s no cop or hero though.

From Berzerker’s speech patterns to the way he carries himself as a character and also the deep levels of grief he hides behind a stoic demeanor, BRZKR #1 definitely seems like a comic that could turn into a Keanu Reeves acting role down the road. However, future brand synergy and questionable use of Kickstarter aside, this comic doesn’t come across as an illustrated movie script thanks to Reeves, Kindt, and especially artist Garney’s use of what makes the medium unique. The team marries show and tell nicely in the first 30 pages of the comic with Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt’s narration fleshing out Berzerker’s attitude and motivation while Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree’s visuals establish him as a nearly unstoppable force of violence. They show his disconnection from humanity in other ways like how he never directly addresses the soldiers he’s with, leaps into action ahead of them, and never really acknowledges anyone until we see him with the doctor towards the end of the comic, who is trying to bring him back to reality while making sure the U.S. will still have his services.

Ron Garney, who is coming off tremendous runs on Daredevil and Juggernaut, finds a happy medium between Frank Miller’s work on Sin City and Geof Darrow’s general, violent mayhem. Perhaps, BRZKR is Hard Boiled 2021. Garney’s iconic poses and uses of silhouette, shadow, and vertical panels are straight from Miller’s best work while his detailed approach to violence is very Darrow-esque although he goes for cartooning over hyper detail. Like both storytellers, he lets the opening setpiece breathe, which gives this comic a “day in the life” feel while also showing many opportunities for Berzerker to kill the dictator’s goons in increasingly creative ways. This is while the real enemy aka the U.S. government is skulking in the corners and using his DNA to build a non-white-helmeted clone army. As well as letting the fight scenes breathe, Reeves, Kindt, and Garney let the scenes in the government lab last for a few extra pages and also be part of the book’s only double page spread to show how Berzerker’s employer controls him so much.

Bill Crabtree’s colors help up the creepiness quotient of the lab scenes in BRZRKR #1 that are slightly reminiscent of Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” storyline. He uses lots of greys and blues to show how lifeless and invasive Berzerker’s surroundings are in contrast with the earthier palette he uses for the fight scenes (Plus red for the really violent bits.) and a big time flashback. This is especially effective when Berzerker has a moment of hesitation and doesn’t kill a young man watching him brutally assassinate the president of an unnamed Latin American country that the United States is starting a coup in. Crabtree transitions from the scarlet of battle to the blue of mercy, and this pattern recurs when Berzerker chats with his doctor on-panel towards the end of the comic in a sequence that really adds to his character and provides additional layers beyond being a killer with a dry sense of humor.

There are several comics (The Old Guard, Heavy, almost every Wolverine book) dealing with the themes of immortality, violence, and hopefully becoming mortal one day. However, none of them will likely be adapted into a film starring Keanu Reeves as a star eyed, shaggy haired warrior, who will jump out of windows into humvees, take gunfire on his chest, and a bullet to the head just to have a slight shot at remembering his past and being able to die one day. And none of them were co-written by Reeves, who with Kindt, gives Berzerker the laconic, world-worn voice that matches the carnage he’s covered in and dishes out as depicted by Ron Garney, who channels his inner warrior poet with an action sequence longer than most comics with the help of colorist Bill Crabtree, whose palette conveys rage and just a small slice of hope. All of this is to say is that BRZRKR #1 is worth checking out if you like breathtaking fight choreography and layouts with an eye for detail with a protagonist, who is a total badass, but needs a hug and not to be treated like a lab rat or go on another mission in service of American imperialism.

Story: Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt Art: Ron Garney
Colors: Bill Crabtree Letters: Clem Robins
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Mike Mignola, Chris Roberson and Leila del Duca Invite You to The House of Lost Horizons

This year, legendary Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, bestselling co-writer Chris Roberson, artist Leila del Duca, letterer Clem Robins, colorist Michelle Madsen, and cover artist Christopher Mitten are inviting readers to The House of Lost Horizons. In this four-issue series from Dark Horse Comics, a locked-room murder mystery puzzles paranormal detective Sarah Jewell and her associate Marie Therése when a weekend trip to a private island off the coast of Washington goes awry. Trapped by a storm and surrounded by myriad suspects who have gathered for an auction of occult items, the intrepid duo must unravel the supernatural mysteries surrounding the guests in the hopes of uncovering the murderer. But all the while bodies keep piling up, and at any moment Sarah or Marie Therése could be next….

The House of Lost Horizons will debut from Dark Horse Comics in comic stores on May 12, 2021, retailing for $3.99.

THE HOUSE OF LOST HORIZONS

Review: Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1

Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1

I love pulp adventures and stories. There’s a fun aspect to them where you accept the over-the-top sequences and enjoy it all. Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1 kicks off a “lost tale” of a young Hellboy infused with the over-the-top nature of those types of stories.

On their way to South America, Hellboy and Professor Bruttenholm are stranded on a strange island after their plane crashes. The mysterious island is full of the crazy experiences and dangers you’d expect. From giant crabs to attacking gorillas, Hellboy and Bruttenholm must figure out where they are and how to survive.

With a story by Mike Mignola and Thomas Sniegoski, Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1 is a solid read that you can just pick up and enjoy. It bathes itself in the moments you’d expect from this type of story. It takes its inspiration from the old reels and films full of adventure. It’s the type of story where the action is the focus and the “what” isn’t quite the focus at all. You just roll with what’s thrown at you and enjoy the ride.

Mignola and Sniegoski fills the issue with enthusiasm with a young Hellboy that’s full of excitement. Like a kid of that age, he wants to know what’s going on with glee. A lot of the fun comes from that aspect and it brings a bit of youthful energy to the comic.

Craig Rousseau‘s art is great. Dave Stewart provides colors with lettering by Clem Robins. Much like the story itself, the visuals feel a bit over the top. Things feel exaggerated in a good way adding to the fun aspect of it all. Hellboy comics can fall into the horror genre in both stories and visuals but this issue brings a bit of the lighter side of things.

Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #1 is an entertaining comic. It’s one you can just pick up and enjoy without having to know anything about the world or character. It shares a lot of its DNA with adventures like Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, and Tarzan. There’s an aspect where it doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows exactly what it wants to be and that’s a lot of fun.

Story: Mike Mignola, Thomas Sniegoski Art: Craig Rousseau
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Clem Robins
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Don’t Miss BRZRKR #1 in February. Keanu Reeves explains how to pre-order

Don’t miss the highly anticipated BRZRKR #1, the premiere issue of the twelve-issue limited series from the iconic Keanu Reeves in his Must Read comic book writing debut alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt, acclaimed artist Ron Garney, colorist Bill Crabtree, and letterer Clem Robins, available on February 24, 2021.

The man known only as B. is half-mortal and half-god, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity.  But after wandering the world for centuries, B. may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, B. will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence…and how to end it.

BRZRKR #1 features main cover art by superstar illustrator Rafael Grampá and variant cover art by superstar artists Mark Brooks, Lee Bermejo, and Dan Mora, as well as the 1-in-1000 signed edition variant cover with art by Jonboy Meyers, and more.

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