“Buzzkill” goes through the motions this month as Ruben tries to clear his conscience of all those that he wronged. Along the way we’re introduced to complicated past relationships with a myriad of colorful heroes, love life complications, and a major challenge that could potentially destroy our hero. The comedic insight on addiction doesn’t stop this month, but the real star of the show is Ruben’s past.
Donny Cates, Mark Reznicek, and Geoff Shaw create such a great deconstruction of the superhero genre with “Buzzkill.” Every month takes another step in changing what we know about our protagonist and experiencing the character through a new lens. This month said lens is a Justice League type of organization. Ruben does his best to make amends, but these heroes will hear nothing of it.
Cates and Reznicek ensure that Ruben speaks through them, giving us a scathing analysis of the superheroes here. Characterization here is spot on. Both writers and Shaw have gone the extra mile to ensure you understand all of these heroes with a single panel. It borders on parody but it works so well. These colorful characters chose to distance themselves from Ruben because of the nature of his powers.
From here we’re drug back into Ruben’s personal life. The past of issues one and two come back to haunt him here. Everything comes full circle. A fantastic battle breaks out, but abruptly comes to an end as a bigger threat is posed.
This month the real star of the show is Doctor Blaqk. The character is imbued with such energy that he manages to liven up every scene. He continues to be a positive force in Ruben’s life, and at this very moment seems to be his only friend.
Geoff Shaw’s art is nothing short of miraculous. Over the course of the series he has done his best to transition Ruben from a strung out loser to a better, cleaner, version of himself. Which is in conjunction with his fantastic display of action scenes. Shaw makes sure you feel it when High Guard grabs Ruben and pins him against the glass paneling above the earth.
Actually, High Guard is particularly and fantastically imposing in every panel he’s in. He’s a looming presence, and the writers ensure us that Ruben doesn’t give a shit. He’s not afraid of this bulletproof bastard.
“Buzzkill” has amounted to an atypical story of redemption. Unlike other stories of redemption, this seems to be for Ruben and Ruben alone. At first his motivations seemed to be for others. A feeble attempt to win back the life he lost. Yet, in a moment of realization near the end of the issue Ruben is willing to lose everything just to make a difference.
Cates and Reznicek make sure that it’s not that easy. They dreg Ruben’s past back to haunt him and we learn a fantastic piece of backstory that gears us up for the finale. With nothing left to lose, and no powers to speak of, Ruben heads to his demise. Of course, things won’t be that cut and dry. They never are with this book. Now that Ruben has accepted his fate we head into what promises to be a fantastic and emotional battle.
With that promise, I’ll be jonsing for my next fix of “Buzzkill” for a whole month.
Rating: 4.5/5 Skulls.
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