Buzzkill #2 [Advance Review]

Buzzkill #2 (Dark Horse): I’m really enjoying this new mini-series from Donny Cates, Mark Reznicek, and Geoff Shaw, and the second issue is even stronger than the first. It's ostensibly about a “superhero” (we use that term loosely considering the tragedy we've only seen in flashback) who gains powers when he’s drunk (or ingests any type of drug, come to find out) and has also come to function as a semi-reliable narrator at best. As he conveniently balances telling the readers his story visually during the course of the comic, but omitting certain verbal details to wash his identity whilst weaving the tale into his AA meetings, Buzzkill is ultimately a story about dragging our personal secrets into the harsh light of day. It’s the apprehension of honesty, losing our true sense of self, and fear of other people’s perceptions. Cates and Reznicek are clever writers, slowly and deliberately revealing more information as the issues progress, which tends to have an impact on what we’ve seen before, why the protagonist prefers hot chocolate so much, why he’s able to detect something the audience already knows with heightened senses, etc., which all brings a playful interactive quality to the story. That type of storytelling magic continues with what becomes an incredibly fast-paced issue, from an assault by the rogues gallery, to sourcing alcohol as fuel for the duel, to subverting the notion of a 12-step program based in part on a belief system. Geoff Shaw’s art is the perfect style to keep pace with such a stylish script. It’s full of gritty textured lines that are somewhere in between the emotional heft of Garry Brown and the stylized sharp angles of a Tradd Moore or a Sean Murphy. It’s energetic stuff, with some amazingly drawn women in particular. Lauren Affe’s work is an added gut-punch of visceral color. With Eric’s tongue-in-cheek rotating names and the outright hilarity of the new character we meet (I won’t spoil it!), it’s a signpost for a level of self-awareness about the book’s deconstructionist tendencies. This is how you do it, folks. “Pew! Pew! Pew!” Grade A.


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