Advance Review: Buzzkill #2
Heroes have often dealt with drug/alcohol problems in comics, none in the way Buzzkill does. It’s a breathtaking read, and one every comic fan needs to read.
What astonished me when reading Buzzkill #1 and #2, was how seamlessly the metaphor for being an alcoholic is woven into the superhero narrative. There is plenty of action to be had, but Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek focus it squarely on the internal dilemma of Ruben. The problems aren’t forced down the readers throats, as Cates (who scripts the issue) leaves it to the interpretation of the reader for how Ruben should feel. But then again, isn’t that what happens when someone is addicted to drugs? Everyone says how they should be feeling. It’s amazing subtext that completely blew me away when I put the issue down. Also, the fact that Ruben’s superhero name is never mentioned is another stroke of brilliance. If Ruben can’t remember his times being drunk, why should the reader. We are firmly planted in Ruben’s shoes. I’m not sure I’ve been so thoroughly engrossed into the life of a new creation like this before (when it comes to comics).
The superhero tropes work seamlessly against the more serious parts of Ruben’s story. The only thing that didn’t completely work with me was the Doctor Strange like character of Doctor Blaqk, who seems to know he’s in a comic. He’s quite funny, but his humor seems off compared to the rest of the story. IT also could be that I didn’t feel like laughing after being brought down from the beginning of this issue. The use of Ruben’s specific powers, using different drugs for different powers, is put to use here. The little bit of nicotine and caffeine giving him an edge to help was a nice touch. The clichéd tropes used, captured girlfriend and old villain coming back, seem like they wouldn’t work, but surprisingly do. It’s because Cates is focusing on the inner turmoil of Ruben first, and adding in superhero antics second. This keeps the action from being the focus of the deeper character moments.
Geoff Shaw’s artwork is similar stylistically to Sean Murphy’s. The characters look more realistic than the average comic penciler, and there is a lot of scratchiness in the pencils. Never has a bear being punched out of a building look so good. The numerous superhero designs have a nice variety to them, even if a few look awfully similar to some Marvel and DC heroes. The violence is brutal, and is more lifelike than most violence in comics. Lauren Affe’s colors are more muted than most comic involving superheroes, and compliment Shaw’s pencils nicely.
Buzzkill is a rare comic in today’s market. It’s incredibly sad, but I’m very excited to read it. After reading #2 multiples times since getting the press copy, I can’t wait for #3.
Buzzkill #2 gets 4.5/5.