by Donny Cates, Mark Reznicek, and Geoff Shaw
Many writers enjoy depicting a flawed hero, one with some element that grounds him. Writers sometimes believe that it counters their ability in a way that makes them more relatable to the audience. Taking the premise of a superhero that is attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the opening scene might indicate that Buzzkill will cover familiar territory. Donny Cates and Mark Reznicek have a different story in mind, entirely. The lead character does not give his real name at this meeting, instead introducing himself as a man named Reuben. Reuben tells the audience one thing, while telling those around him something completely different. The truth is clouded, but Cates and Reznicek have a story with real intrigue.
The man calling himself Reuben tells the reader that using drugs and alcohol provide him with superpowers. This is not a situation, however, where the reality of that might be untrue, with the powers being in the head of the character. Readers are presented with some flashbacks of Reuben, while reading what he is saying to the other AA members. The two are not at odds with each other, but do tell slightly different stories. Geoff Shaw uses two styles of art in this book to distinguish present day from flashbacks. Each reflects actual comic styles in conjunction with our actual art styles of today versus the past. Shaw uses much scratchier visuals for today, and dot-coloring for the flashbacks. It is a nice touch by the artist to choose such a mirroring technique.
Reuben has gotten himself into trouble, but the reader is unsure just what that means. There is a lot left off the page in this issue, but to the benefit of the story. Readers are not given much information on who Reuben is, what his powers may be, or what has brought him to this meeting. Cates and Reznicek do not waste the issue with filler, though. Readers will certainly find much to chew on in what they are being told and seen. The subtle differences and the level of implicit information bring a lot of value to the experience of reading Buzzkill.
The story’s third act delivers impressively well. The issue expands quickly from its character focused confession to a much larger world. It does not require anything massive in terms of its plot events. However, Buzzkill confirms in its conclusion that this is a series with a great deal of control and craft shaping it. The creative team work together to present a fantastic first issue and readers will think they have a handle on the world, only to be fooled and left yearning for more stories.