Buzzkill #2 Advanced Review: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Boozy
My biggest concern after reading the first issue of Buzzkill
(you should definitely check out the review
, the issue and my interview with the writing team
) was how it ended because I thought it would change the focus from Ruben to his villains. Thankfully, not only does this issue use the ending to its advantage, but our ex-alcoholic ex-superhero is becoming even more likeable and has a new cast of characters to bounce off of.
Under the phony name of "Ruben" one of the greatest superheroes in the world joins an AA group and quit being a superhero. You see, "Ruben" could only get his superpowers by abusing drugs. Unfortunately, all of the villains (and I mean all of the villains) he fought over the years aren't about to let him walk away without a parting gift. But his villains aren't aware that revenge is a dish best served boozy.
Like the first issue, Buzzkill #2
does a great job handling the topic of addiction with maturity. The opening monologue from Ruben is powerful and feels like it's coming from a real alcoholic. All of this narration furthers my love for Ruben's character. He also has another flashback involving his girlfriend Nikki and a villain named Brutal Juice which makes his character all the more sympathetic. I don't really understand why writers Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek are so insistent about not revealing his real name. It seems pointless, but it isn't a negative, just a nit-pick.
The serious moments aren't the only reasons I love Ruben. His powers are further explained in this issue. He gets different abilities depending on what kinds of drugs he's taking. For example, his hearing increases to amazing levels when he drinks caffeine. The creativity behind his abilities is fantastic.
Ruben is also wittier in this issue and has some pretty funny lines thanks to the fact that more characters are introduced in this issue for him to interact with. It's cool to see all of his villains in one place, the only problem is there are so many of them it's impossible for them all to be memorable or have more than a panel dedicated to each of them, so their development is minimal in this issue. But that isn't the focus here. The focus is on our lovable protagonist. The fight between him and all of his villains has a great amount of tension to it and brings in his crime-fighting friend (and pill-popper) Eric and a new character who appears to have a bigger role to come: Doctor Blaqk.
It's hard to judge how good a character Doctor Blaqk will be. Ruben's interactions with him are fun but Blaqk is still a mystery. He has a couple of good lines and seems to control powerful magical forces which are very Meta.
The closest I can get to a negative aspect of the story other than the fact that no other character can come close to being as developed as Ruben without the focus of the story going awry is that I don't really understand why writers Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek are so insistent about not revealing his real name (I know it's Alcoholics ANONYMOUS, but even outside of the meetings his true name is purposely scribbled out). It seems pointless, but it isn't a negative, just a nit-pick, and that could easily be resolved with a big reveal in the next issue or two.
Like last time the artwork is done by Geoff Shaw and I'm still not a big fan of the style. It's very sketchy, but it fits the tone. But sometimes it gets so sketchy and the bloody colors absorb the lines so the action panels are a little difficult to make out in some panels. Several villains and heroes have very interesting designs though. Doctor Blaqk looks like a hippy Doctor Strange which conveys the perfect vibe from what I've seen of his character. Brutal Juice has a cool punky pink buzz cut that's cool to look at. Another of Ruben's foes whose name easily gets lost in a sea of villains has robotic armor that makes him look like a formidable foe. The rest of the villains had solid designs... at least the ones that didn't get lost in the crowd. The only time a character was drawn badly were the bears Brutal Juice has (and even they're cute sometimes). A lot of backgrounds are also diluted down to basic colors or speedlines, but solid colors actually made the artwork pop more and worked with the tone.
Usually when I love the first issue of a series, the next part disappoints me. But Buzzkill #2
continues to impress. "Ruben" is my favorite new character of the year and the concept is brilliant. I cannot wait to read more and my fingers are crossed that Cates and Reznicek will not just stop at just this mini-series and will either turn it into an ongoing series or create a spin-off, which they have talked about doing. Until then, I'll enjoy this buzz killer.