Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer(s): Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt
Artist: Ron Garney
Colours: Bill Crabtree
Letterer: Clem Robins
Release Date: 16th June 2021
For those bibliophiles who thoroughly enjoy buckets of blood being sprayed across each and every page of their books, issue three of BRZRKR must surely have landed well, considering that its collaboratively written storyline predominantly depicts its titular character cutting a red swathe through the numerous tribes who supposedly threaten his ‘vulnerable’ Prehistoric community. Indeed, Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt’s narrative is most definitely not for the faint-hearted as it features the long-haired killing machine repeatedly hacking his way through his hapless opponents with a deadly double-handed axe that seems to have little trouble decapitating, eviscerating and mutilating anybody foolish enough to get within the blade’s razor-sharp reach.
Intriguingly however, this comic isn’t solely reliant on gratuitous gore, thanks largely to a well-penned sub-plot concerning Berzerker’s (non-biological) father increasingly succumbing to the power his son’s immortality offers their tribe. Initially born out of a desperate desire to simply survive the repeated raiding parties striking their village to its very core, the young warrior is suddenly seen to be little more than a “tool” which, once fully-honed, will seemingly help the ambitious leader conquer vast expanses of land, and bring even those civilizations who offer no danger whatsoever to his rule under the headman’s vicious heel; “This village is so far, father. How can they possibly be a threat?”
In addition, this publication does a good job of sowing the seeds of doubt in the lead protagonist’s mind that there must be more to life than him simply wading through the bodies of broken men, women and children just because his patriarch commands it. In fact, the friction between the living weapon’s mother and her power-hungry husband becomes palpable by this comic’s end, especially once the woman’s offspring confides in her his doubts and she realises that they emotionally echo her own concerns as to his God-given gift being badly misused.
Equally as enthralling as this book’s narrative is the attention to detail which Ron Garney’s excellent artwork provides. Some readers may unfairly gloss over the artist’s scarlet-soaked layouts as one of many ‘over-the-top’ illustrations which litter this publication’s battle-scenes. But for those who take the time to look a little closer at each panel’s composition, they contain some astonishingly savage moments, such as Berzerker literally severing the odd enemy’s head by squishing the fellow’s neck flat with his bare hand, or battering to death an unnamed King’s bodyguard using their monarch’s amputated leg as a particularly grisly weapon.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]