Plot: Donny Cates & Mark Reznicek
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colorist: Lauren Affe
Publisher: Dark Horse
Imagine Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman. The attitude, the anger, the frustration, and the desire to do good, even if he’s not so hot at it. Now imagine when Jesse’s high he becomes a superhero. That’s Buzzkill #1. Or at least, it would be if you had to sum it up using topical pop culture references (can you believe there’s only 2 episodes of Breaking Bad left?!). “Ruben,” our hero, is not Jesse Pinkman but he’s just as interesting to watch and we have the benefit of sitting inside his head.
After a showdown in a big city, Ruben decides to put a life of superheroing behind him and head to AA. See, alcohol gives Ruben his superpowers. He needs to drink, maybe even be drunk, to get his powers. We’re treated to the first time he discovered his abilities and it ends horribly. This book is mostly talking, with a few snippets of action—flashbacks, usually. There are two instances of violence, but it isn’t played like violence in comics. The two instances felt real and were shocking in their honesty, especially the second.
Flashbacks pop in and out of the narrative and at no point will they confuse you. While the style stays the same, the colors will let you know because they flashback, too. Geoff Shaw’s style matches the matter well: this isn’t a clean, pretty world we’re looking at and the “dirtier” art complements the story.
Nothing about Buzzkill feels like a normal superhero comic book. There’s very little action between the covers. Lots of talking and remembering. That’s not a detraction, because what writer Donny Cates (and co-plotter Mark Reznicek) do say is fun. We get enough information to start forming our own ideas while there’s still mystery surround Ruben and his former life. And the last few pages? Well, who doesn’t enjoy seeing the other side of the coin and what they do during their meetings?
Overall? With a couple of intriguing twists and turns, Buzzkill #1 is off to a good start. There’s hints of a much bigger world and while seeing that would be cool, it isn’t necessary because Ruben’s interesting enough to command your attention in a smaller part of that world. Buy this book, folks.