When Dark Horse put this title out, I didn’t recognize any of the creators, but the title and concept grabbed me as well as a blurb on the cover by Mark Waid, who simple said:
” God, I wish I’d thought of this ”
After reading the first issue I felt the same way.
And I wasn’t the only one. Valiant Comic’s , a direct competitor of Dark Horse, was so enthralled with the series they tweeted a money back guarantee on issue #5 for Valiant fans who grabbed the book. Not often you see stuff like that huh?
Donny Cates and Mar Reznicek (who taps into his own experiences as a drummer for the Toadies ) have created a deep an interesting character in the lead protagonist “Ruben”. “Ruben” is the alias Francis Pierce uses as his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Besides all the various detriments and effects of booze and drugs have on his mind, they also have a curious side effect. The more illicit drugs and alcohol in his system the more powerful of a super hero he becomes.
After a devastating battle, in which he blacked out and left the city in ruins and his nemesis in a coma, Pierce decides he needs to stop. He joins AA and attempts to go clean,and as his discovery of his powers and the horrors of addiction that are only exacerbated by being super-powered are told through out the AA meetings, in vague way to the meeting members, while keeping the readers in the know about his super powered exploits. Can Pierce keep his addiction under check, when former villains unite and attack him at a meeting, or will disloyal friends and hate-filled ex-girlfriends push him to his limits?
And when his former nemesis ( and apparently a closer relationship than we’re first privy too ) wakes from his coma and threatens all those dear to him, will Pierce find away to defeat him without going back to the bottle? Cates and Reznicek craft a unique story, with much deeper undertones than you would first expect.
This is not a book that glorifies drinking or drug use, but shows us the downsides to partying hard against a super hero back drop.
The effects of addiction on relationships, friendships, family and careers and the reactions to someone with an addiction are all deeply explored with enough humor injected in to make you smile here and there, keeping the book from being a total downer.
With an interesting supporting cast ( with most of the comedy going to Doctor Blaqk, “its pronounced Blaqk not Black!”, a burned out Doctor Strange Homage who becomes Pierce’s de-facto sponsor ) and a fast-paced storyline rife with insights, Buzzkill’s Geoff Shaw took full advantage and drew some beautiful stuff, with his Bachalo inspired rendering and Sean Murphy -like layouts, he added a depth to a story that with out its sketchy tone to art, would have not had the serious impact it does on the subject matter.
I Give this book 4 out of 5 Space Monkeys and highly recommend it to anyone looking to read an intelligent and witty comic about a serious problem that affects just about everybody and the repercussions of alcoholism and drug abuse on the life of the addict as well as those around him.
Buzzkill – TP
Writer: Cates, Donny
Artist: Shaw, Geoff
Cover Artist: Shaw, Geoff
Publisher: Dark Horse
Diamond Id: DEC130099
Format: TRADE PAPERBACK
On Sale: April 02, 2014