So the buzz has finally reached me and this book really lives up to its reputation. This is the final issue in one of the most talked about comic series this year.
Buzzkill is a story that centres on “Francis” aka Ruben to his AA meeting members. He is also Brutal Juice, a superhero with a very interesting twist. In order to get his powers going he needs to get the drugs and alcohol flowing. Sure this sounds like a fun filled drunken adventure, but it is not. Instead, it is a dark story that aims to educate the reader about addictions and the recovery process.
The issue kicks off with Francis’ ultimate enemy, his very own father Courtland, as we take a trip down memory lane. In this flashback we see a young Francis playing with action figures in the basement. His father finds him playing with his “dolls” in hiding. Gosh, don’t you hate it when your Dad calls your action figures dolls! Courtland tells his son that he can’t play as both the hero and the villain, that in life Francis has to choose whether he wants to be the villain or the hero. In his father’s eyes he is not hero material. Ever since his son was born he was destined to live the life of a villain. Courtland is intimidating. Imagine having a jacked super powered father. Yeah, beatings must be painful and you can see how intimidated this poor kid is. His father is always portrayed with a stern aggressive look that is partially shrouded in darkness, never mind the fact that he is a hulk amongst men. You can see the fear on Francis face and his stuttering, constant apologising and actions show that this young man was tormented by his father to the point that he lived in fear. He hands his son the villain action figure and leaves the reader breathless. And this is just the opening of the issue! Without giving away too much, the events that follow are powerful and deal with the topics of introspection, rehabilitation, recovery and sacrifice.
The art complements the tone of this story perfectly. The art is highly detailed and filled with sketchy pencilling lines of different shades and width. This really creates that broken, grimey feel and it keeps the story dark as it is meant to be. Characters look lengthy and distorted but this lends to the idea that Brutal Juice is under the influence when defending the city from Courtland. Facial expressions are highly detailed and allow the reader to truly feel the protagonists despair. Some may say that this elongated look makes the drawings look cartoon like, but with such a dark topic this type of drawing keeps the tone but gives the eye a little light-hearted break at times. Geoff Shaw has produced some unique and impactful art in this issue!
Boasting some great writing, Buzzkill is a series that deserves to be read! This finale is epic and filled with real life tragedy in a world of superheroes. The topic of alcoholism and drug abuse is a global problem, one that needs to be explained in the realm of superheroes as well. Buzzkill brings this subject matter to life with a hero whose weakness gives him the greatest of strength.