Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Authors: Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt
Artist: Ron Garney
Colours: Bill Crabtree
Release Date: 21st December 2022
Arguably padding out the penultimate issue of the “record-breaking hit comic book series” with some serious interplanetary-based mummery and plenty of ‘text-lite’ splash pages, Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt’s narrative certainly doesn’t lack dynamic action, or at least the impression that something catastrophically cataclysmic is occurring somewhere in an inhospitable Saudi Arabian desert. Indeed, as mind-blowing endings go, this issue has it all, with colourist Bill Crabtree providing an incredibly vibrant celestial lightning show denoting the sheer alien nature of “the metaphysical Blue Plane” and artist Ron Garney prodigiously pencilling a scintillating fire-fight packed with plenty of hot lead once it becomes clear that the American authorities are not the only military organisation eager to get their hands on the perpetual warrior’s godlike powers.
Frustratingly however, despite this plethora of spectacular set-pieces – most notably a sequence which sees Caldwell’s elaborate scientific research centre explode with a combination of crackling electricity and homicidal clones – it is more than likely that many a reader will be scratching their heads trying to understand just what is actually going on. Sure, it seems clear that the titular character has been badly betrayed by the bespectacled brains behind the government’s experiments to better understand why he cannot be permanently killed. But the sudden suggestion that his mysterious, deity-crafted origin is entirely due to aliens is both disappointingly cliched and confusingly contrived.
For those bibliophiles bamboozled by such extra-terrestrial technobabble and this publication’s blue-tinted light show though, the notion of the Black Ops Team’s commanding agent simply going rogue in order to achieve his own immortality is much easier to understand. In fact, this sudden shift in the status quo probably won’t shock or surprise too many within this million-copy selling series’ audience considering just how duplicitous and murderous the man has been in the past. Yet his sudden emergence as the leader of the cult dedicated to the Bezerker definitely provides the plot with an intriguing twist, especially when it becomes abundantly clear that Caldwell’s well-armed forces are so advanced that they can hold off his former employers long enough for him to enter an energised box and become irradiated with all the phenomenal capabilities Unute desperately seeks to lose; “God. Dammit. Eagle Team with me! Time to put this motherf*%ker down.”
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]