Review: Buzzkill #2 (of 4)

I want to start this review out by saying I was really invested in the first issue of this series and was looking forward to an awesome mini-series with a unique take on the superhero genre (which I’m usually not very fond of).  Luckily, Buzzkill #2 is no sophomore slump; it tied up a lot of burning questions I had at the end of my review for the first issue while forwarding the story with a great flow. The only question that was not answered in this issue: ‘what is Ruben’s real name?’  We still don’t find that out, he even admits on the first page that he has many secrets and that is one of them.  We also find out why his old girlfriend, Nikki, doesn’t want anything to do with him.  A month ago, ‘Ruben’ got involved with very dangerous people.  We don’t know what the circumstances were, but that’s to be expected with Ruben’s mysterious nature in this book.  They get his attention by stealing Nikki, blindfold her and tie her up in a basement, and prepare to set two bears free on her.  Luckily for her, Ruben shows up as his superhero (or super-villain, depending on how you look at it) and saves Nikki.  There’s an explosion as the two bears go flying out the roof of the building, and Brutal Juice tries to comfort Nikki as he’s wearing the thug’s guts all over him.  Nikki was too afraid to find out who Ruben really was, so she doesn’t see him anymore.

Buzzkill #2 CoverNext, we find out that any type of drug can set Ruben on the path to Brutal Juice.  Even as he’s drinking his hot chocolate (filled with caffeine), his senses are heightened.  He figures out a twist in the first issue: the AA meeting’s leader Wayne is actually a robot manufactured by his enemies.  This sparks a huge fight between Ruben and all of his old nemeses.  They kick the crap out of him-broken arm, bad head trauma, and not to mention he was stabbed in the back (literally).  Right when it looks like it’s the end for Ruben, his old friend Eric comes in and saves the day.  Eric’s able to freeze all of Ruben’s nemeses just long enough for him to get away.  Ruben chooses to go to a church-not to pray or confess, but to get his hands on the wine…

There’s another twist at the end that I don’t want to give away but it throws another batch of questions out there that I’ll just have to hope get answered next issue.  Although there wasn’t a ton going on in this issue, I felt like everything that was absolutely necessary to answer questions and to advance the story happened.  Even though there was a big emphasis on action, it didn’t feel like the story was being dragged out at all.

The art was awesome too, especially during the action sequences.  I had mentioned last issue how it seems pretty gritty and how it looks like there wasn’t a ton of time spent on it (in a good way), and for this issue that works perfectly.  Every panel during the huge fight is more brutal than the last, like when he gets kicked in the face and blood is gushing out of his mouth.  The sketch-like quality of the art in these sequences ads to the harshness and I loved every minute reading it.

If you’re sick of traditional superhero stories, try Buzzkill on for size.  You won’t be disappointed.

Score: 4/5

Story: Donny Cates/Mark Reznicek Writer: Donny Cates Artist: Geoff Shaw Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/16/13

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with the creators from Steve Paugh!