Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer(s): Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt
Artist: Ron Garney
Colours: Bill Crabtree
Letterer: Clem Robins
Release Date: 28th July 2021
Showing this mini-series’ mass-murdering machine at his most vulnerable as the crestfallen killer single-handedly faces the combined armies of his late father’s surviving enemies, Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt’s script for issue four of BRZRKR imbues the titular character with plenty of intriguing emotions. In fact, this entire twenty-page periodical’s plot contains an enthralling abundance of its cast feeling either extreme regret, mental anguish, physical pain, self-indulgent anger, jealously-driven fear, paternal disillusionment or overwhelming grief; “So long ago. I always assumed it was time that made me forget. And distance. I’ve lived a thousand lives since then. The memory is still there. Perfectly intact. It was just waiting there.”
Foremost of these non-blood soaked hooks is the way this comic’s collaborative penmanship depicts Berzerker’s parents finally having a parting of ways over their son’s future. The inhuman warrior’s mother has always been shown to have his best interests at heart, even when they badly conflict with the power-mad machinations of the young man’s (step) father, and thus her decision to pray for a magical gift from the gods which promises to “take the curse from” her child makes perfect sense. Unfortunately however, such a present would also badly jeopardise the dictatorial plans of her husband, who fatally decides to put his own greedy ambitions as King ahead of those of his family.
Likewise, there’s a real change shown in both the lead protagonist “cursed and compelled to violence”, as well as his modern-day head shrink, Doctor Diana Ahuja. Berzerker’s despair at the pitiless death of his mother, along with his stark realisation that much of her demise lies at the feet of his father’s selfish aspirations, weighs so heavily upon the half-mortal half-deity that he eventually decides to commit suicide in the most grisly of fashions, rather than live any longer. Whilst the U.S. Government’s psychiatric ‘tool’ realises just how mentally damaged her patient must be, and somewhat surprisingly decides to suddenly ignore her orders by being completely honest with her patient for once.
Of course, that’s not to say that there still isn’t buckets of gore aplenty for those bibliophiles who only plucked this publication off of the spinner-rack for its gratuitous depiction of half-naked wildlings being brutally broken into a bloody pulp. In fact, neatly dispersed in between all this comic’s healthy exposition as to how Berzerker discovered he couldn’t be killed, is arguably some of artist Ron Garney’s most grisly-looking demises to date, including a sequence depicting the black-haired ‘weapon’ slaughtering his opponents with the jawbone of horse as if he were the biblical hero Samson himself.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]