Brzrkr #1 review – Keanu Reeves is a comic book hero

April 27, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Comics
3.5

Summary

If you were to present this without Keanu, then it might be another indie action comic that could slip under the radar, but Brzrkr has managed to grab all the attention it needs to get the ball rolling and I wonder if it might make Hollywood look at similar approaches to getting movie projects greenlit.

3.5

Summary

If you were to present this without Keanu, then it might be another indie action comic that could slip under the radar, but Brzrkr has managed to grab all the attention it needs to get the ball rolling and I wonder if it might make Hollywood look at similar approaches to getting movie projects greenlit.

This is an oddity, but the more I think about it, the more I start to understand the real relevance of this comic book. Brzrkr is a (badly spelled) comic book from Boom Studios, written by Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt, with pictures by Ron Garney.

Keanu is credited as the creator of the premise too, and Boom Studios has not been shy about letting everyone know that this book is a thing.

From a publicity point of view, it’s obviously genius. Keanu is already pretty much a superhero already, with films like John Wick embracing ultra-violence and superhero-type action scenes, but not aimed at a traditional comic book audience. So seeing Keanu as a comic book superhero is not a jolting reality check, but a natural progression. He is so tightly linked to sci-fi and fantasy, and don’t forget he was Constantine too, that the convergence of movies and superhero antics have never been so close together.

So with the book already optioned, and the comic book hype train racing down the track, it’s no surprise that sales of this book, and its multitude of variant covers, have gone through the roof. Quite a coup for Boom Studios.

So, is it any good?

Well, it starts off at a rollicking pace, with an action sequence that runs through the first 28 pages. There is blood and gore and lots of gratuitous shots of people being dispatched in every way, shape, and form, so if you like that kind of mega violence, this book is for you.

Things drop a gear though when we get to the second part of this book that reveals, through a therapy session, a bit more about our protagonist, how he does what he does, and where he may have come from in the first place.

That’s pretty much it.

It is a book of two halves, told simply enough and with art that borrows from early Frank Miller and Garth Ennis’s Preacher. It’s hard to criticize, as it pretty much does everything that it set out to do. My only concern is the overkill and exuberance that it embraces, but if it didn’t go so far, I might also have complained about that too.

So this is an odd one, but from a business point of view, you can’t help but admire the grift, and this is indeed a masterstroke. Boom Studios have presented a book, written and created by a Hollywood A-lister, that has been designed to appeal to a mainstream movie audience, that has “option” watermarked through every page.

It’s going to be Boom Studios’ biggest selling book and is definitely scheduled for some kind of TV or movie treatment that will spin off the back of John Wick, and do great box office one way or another. (Although you should all be looking out for Something Is Killing The Children, also Boom, also optioned).

You have to admire it, and as far as it being a comic goes, then yes, it will please a lot of readers, and more importantly, it might even lead to non comic book fans thinking of grabbing a copy because, you know, Keanu. But it does slightly feel like trying too hard sometimes, and the violence is almost trying to make you think this is a book for grown-ups, but it’s not really, and a more sophisticated approach would have made for a more rounded reading experience, but they had a tone and they stuck with it.

If you were to present this without Keanu, then it might be another indie action comic that could slip under the radar, but Brzrkr has managed to grab all the attention it needs to get the ball rolling and I wonder if it might make Hollywood look at similar approaches to getting movie projects greenlit. After all, Marvel and DC have paved the way for this kind of thing, it was only a matter of time before a new player took note of the failures and successes and had a go themselves.

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