Writer: Keanu Reeves & Matt Kindt
Artist: Ron Garney
Colorist: Bill Crabtree
Cover Artist: Rafael Grampá
Publisher: Boom! Studios
For centuries, the mysterious B has been roaming the world fighting through many wars but is unable to be killed. In the present day, this immortal warrior has allied with the United States. In exchange for his formidable services, they will find a way to give him mortality. Last issue he remembered the day he was born, and we see where the story takes B in BRZRKR #3.
Previously, B was recounting his backstory to the doctor, Diana, of how he was born over 80,000 years ago. Remembering the history of his native tribe to the otherworldly nature of his birth. This comic continues to tell more of B’s earlier life as he develops from a young killing machine into an adult killing machine for his people.
During this time, Diana is retelling the new parts of the story that B is remembering to someone else, but we never see who. In this phase of his life, B is utilized as the tip of the spear for his people, who were on the receiving end of many raids and pillaging from the other neighboring tribes for years. And now they’re the ones on the attack thanks to B.
Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree do great work with the art, especially the fighting and bloody wrecks made by B. The fight scenes are quick but brilliantly brutal, so when the action happens it comes in like a blur but is enjoyable. The action isn’t everywhere but it’s balanced out with B’s family drama evenly enough. From the get-go we get epic displays of B’s power and the literal carnage left in his wake wherever he goes to fight. The fighting and carnage with B are always a bloody, gory, and visceral mess, and it’s great.
However, as with stories like this, B is having doubts about his existence, his conception, his purpose in life, the whole shebang. This is a type of story people familiar with fiction about people used as “living weapons”, like the Jason Bourne films, will likely have seen before. But what makes this stand out is the attention to the word “conditioning” and how it’s applied in the comic. Whenever B has doubts about his role in the tribe, or has questions about his birth, his mother and father attempt to positively reaffirm him of his existence as their tribe’s greatest warrior.
BRZRKR ultimately tugs at the bigger questions surrounding B as an immortal character but doesn’t provide much in the way of answers. However, it sets up some tantalizing ideas while telling a story of B coming into his own as the immortal warrior he is in the present.
The thing about B’s parents is they condition him in a loving manner, so neither B or the reader have to worry about some kind of deception or menace on their part. And I can see where the parents are coming from and why they want him to be this living weapon. Their tribe lived in a primeval time period where their daily lives were spent hiding in fear of death, pillages, and being taken away. So, yeah, you’d want someone like B who can be their literal Boogeyman and scare away their enemies.
However, it clearly doesn’t fully take as B keeps questioning them about it. And at this point he really just wants to be their son, not a weapon anymore. Plus, it becomes evident that his father is also using B to expand their tribe’s control over the areas. Their campaign isn’t about retaliating against their attackers anymore, it’s about expansion. Meanwhile, his mother is also having doubts about using him like this and also just wants B to be their son, leaning to a clash of interests there.
You see numerous instances of this throughout the comic as the father keeps pushing B to stay on task while reinforcing his role as their tribe’s greatest champion. BRZRKR doesn’t exactly conclude the backstory, so it’s likely other issues will finish B’s origins. This also leads to a major development that will bleed over into the present-day story.
Also, the synopsis mentions a character called Stephen Caldwell and kind of builds him up as a big deal. But the reality is he barely shows up in this comic, at all. He only showed up for one non-speaking panel in the first issue described as “Head of Belief Systems and Ancient Technology Migration”. He does show up at the second-to-last page as the one Diana reports to, and that’s it.
BRZRKR #3 explores more of B’s character in the past and shows what it could mean for his time in the present. The artwork from Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree is great as they continue to show more of the series’ bloody action. The story with B is not exactly new but it’s well-written and executed well with the art in the comic. It’s an enjoyable continuation of the previous issue and tugs at some of the bigger questions surrounding B, while setting up later issues.