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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


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Watch the BRZRKR #1 Trailer Voiced by Keanu Reeves

BOOM! Studios has released a trailer for BRZRKR #1, the premiere issue of the twelve-issue limited series from the iconic 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 March 3, 2021. BRZRKR #1 is the highest-selling original comic book launch in nearly 30 years and the trailer features a voiceover by creator Keanu Reeves.

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, Dan Mora, and Lee Bermejo, as well as a 1-in-1000 variant cover with art by Jonboy Meyers and signed by Keanu Reeves, and more.

Preview: BRZRKR #1

BRZRKR #1

(W) Matt Kindt, Keanu Reeves (A) Ron Garney (CA) Rafael Grampá
NOTE: This is for Mature Readers
In Shops: Mar 03, 2021
SRP: $4.99

Discover the next blockbuster action franchise from the iconic KEANU REEVES in his Must Read comic book writing debut alongside New York Times best-selling co-writer Matt Kindt (Folklords, Bang!) and acclaimed artist Alessandro Vitti (Marvel’s Secret Warriors) in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages.

The man known only as Berzerker 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, Berzerker 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, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence… and how to end it.

BRZRKR #1

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.

BOOM! Reveals Dan Mora’s BRZRKER #1 Cover

BOOM! Studios has revealed a brand new variant cover art for the highly anticipated BRZRKR #1, by award-winning artist Dan Mora. The limited-edition variant cover will be made available to comic book stores as an undressed edition featuring only the cover art as a 1-in-200 incentive. BRZRKR is a twelve-issue limited series by 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, available in comic book stores worldwide 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 Mora, as well as a 1-in-1000 variant cover with art by Jonboy Meyers and signed by Keanu Reeves, and more.

BRZRKR #1 Dan Mora cover

Lee Bermejo Covers BRZRKR #1

BOOM! Studios has revealed brand new variant cover art for the highly anticipated BRZRKR #1, by Lee Bermejo. The limited-edition variant cover will be made available to comic book stores as a 1-in-25 incentive. Additionally, an undressed edition featuring only the cover art will be offered as a 1-in-100 incentive. BRZRKR is a twelve-issue limited series by 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, available in comic book stores worldwide 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, Dan Mora, and Bermejo, as well as a 1-in-1000 variant cover with art by Jonboy Meyers and signed by Keanu Reeves, and more.

BRZRKR #1 variant by Lee Bermejo

BRZRKR #1 Gets an Ultra Rare Variant Cover Signed by Keanu Reeves

BOOM! Studios has revealed a brand new incentive variant cover for the highly anticipated BRZRKR #1, with art by Jonboy Meyers and signed by the iconic Keanu Reeves for his Must Read comic book writing debut. The signed variant cover will be made available to comic book stores as a 1-in-1000 incentive. BRZRKR is a twelve-issue limited series by 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, available in comic book stores worldwide 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 artists Mark Brooks, Lee Bermejo, and Dan Mora, as well as the 1-in-1000 signed edition variant cover with art by Meyers, and more.

BRZRKR #1 Jonboy Meyers signed variant

Preview: Juggernaut #5 (of 5)

Juggernaut #5 (of 5)

(W) Fabian Nicieza (A) Ron Garney (CA) Geoff Shaw
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 06, 2021
SRP: $3.99

IT’S NOT THE END… HE’S UNSTOPPABLE!
The JUGGERNAUT just keeps barreling down the path of righteousness – right into the hands of some very dangerous people. But the question is: for all his personal growth…can Cain Marko save anyone but himself?

Juggernaut #5 (of 5)

Preview: Juggernaut #4 (of 5)

Juggernaut #4 (of 5)

(W) Fabian Nicieza (A) Ron Garney (CA) Geoff Shaw
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $3.99

KNOCK DOWN, DRAG OUT!
For once, Juggernaut is worried about something other than himself. It’s not easy, it’s not what he’s used to… but D-Cell is counting on him. Try and stop him from helping.

Juggernaut #4 (of 5)

Review: Juggernaut #3

Juggernaut #3

I’ve enjoyed Juggernaut for its first two issues. It has explored a man broken and lacking direction in so many ways. Cain Marko is shown both wanting his “fix” and also in control and trying to focus on what comes next. Juggernaut #3 continues that concept but also is sidetracked by yet another fight.

On trial for damage during a battle, Marko is again forced to confront his past. The literal destruction he has caused. If writer Fabian Nicieza focused on just this juxtaposed with his attempt to regain his power, the comic would be far stronger. Instead, the issue feels distracted a bit with a battle against Quicksand who is after D-Cel. There are some things teased for what’s to come. But, it all feels like a side quest to the more interesting main story.

Juggernaut #3 finally answers the question as to how Cain Marko is armored up again. How it happens, with the other half of the trial, creates an interesting narrative of addiction. It’s a story of obsession and the impact on those around you. There’s a lot to mine there for quality storytelling. Sadly the comic mostly dances around it all. Where depth is there for the taking, we get an issue of a fight that is rather forgettable but for a few moments that stand out.

Ron Garney‘s art stands out though. A two page spread of Juggernaut fighting Spider-Man, Juggernauts new bands of Cyttorak, and Quicksand all look great. Matt Milla‘s colors add to it all as things like the Cyttorak armor feel like they glow from the page. The panel work and use of D-Cel’s voiceover all come together for a visually interesting comic whose visuals are more memorable than the story itself.

Juggernaut #3 seems to be taking the series more into a bigger narrative and direction based on the revelations about Quicksand. The series’ strength has been the introspection by Cain over his past as well as his obsession of regaining his lost power. Unfortunately, that feels like it’s getting sidetracked. What started out a strong series might be getting distracted and lose its most interesting aspect, a main character looking for redemption and a path forward.

Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Ron Garney
Color: Matt Milla Letterer: Joe Sabino
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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