I get the feelimng that we'll be talking about BRZRKR, Keanu Reeves' comic creator debut with co-writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney, quite a bit as it heads to Final Order Cut-Off this weekend.
We've been getting some recent sneak peeks from Facebook that Garney has shared which lend credence to our earlier theory that BRZRKR may be Reeves' way of finally getting to play one of his favourite characters – after a fashion.
Although it also sounds like this immortal warrior won't be bound by Marvel's restrictions on violence and gore. Not only did artist Mike Choi say as much as he showed off his cover for the series, but we're hearing that Keanu kept encouraging Ron to amp up the violence in the first issue.
The combination of Reeves, Kindt, Garney, and a character that appeals to the virtually every Wednesday Warrior has resulted in BRZRKR #1 landing on the Top Advance Reorders chart a full week before FOC, which is practically unheard of in the industry. Of course, the reveal of numerous retailer exclusives and addition of a number of new incentive covers, most notably a 1-in-1000 variant by Jonboy Meyers autographed by Reeves and now available graded by CGC to retailers.
In fact, as we understand it, BRZRKR #1 has already outsold last year's megahit Crossover by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw ahead of FOC, with orders over 150,000 so far. Will Crossover be able to build up its readership bigger than BRZRKR? Perhaps if the super-secret crossover appearance in issue #4 is Keanu Reeves as BRZRKR? The issue does release on the same day as BRZRKR #1…
BRZRKR is the latest in a series of successively bigger launches over the last six months between Boom, the upstart David squaring off against the Goliath of creator-owned comics, Image. First, Boom launched Tom Taylor and Daniele di Nicuolo's Seven Secrets last summer as the company's biggest creator-owned title of all time. That record was broken a month later by We Only Find Them When They're Dead by Al Ewing and Simone di Meo. Then Image raised the stakes with James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds' Department of Truth before shattering their own sales records with the aforementioned Crossover. Now with Boom roaring back with BRZRKR, the biggest creator-owned launch in the last 24 years, how will Image counter? Will Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Geiger in April be the next launch to raise the ante? Or will it take the return of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga?
Those are questions for another day, because the only question that matters for the next few days is – how much higher will orders for BRZRKR #1 climb? We'll know after it FOCs on Monday, February 1st.
BRZRKR (BERZERKER) #1 CVR A GRAMPA (MR)
(W) Matt Kindt, Keanu Reeves (A) Ron Garney (CA) Rafael Grampa
* Discover the next blockbuster action franchise from the iconic KEANU REEVES in his Must Read comic book writing debut alongside New York Times best-selling co-writer Matt Kindt (Folklords, Bang!) and acclaimed artist Alessandro Vitti (Marvel's Secret Warriors) in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior's fight through the ages.
* The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity.
* But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else.
* In exchange, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence… and how to end it.
NOTE: This is for Mature ReadersIn Shops: Feb 24, 2021 SRP: $4.99
The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence and how to end it.
BRZRKR will be released in 12 chapters and collected in 3 graphic novel volumes, each containing four comic book chapters (issues). Each graphic novel is a 7"x10", 128-page full-colour book, released in September 2021 (Volume 1), April 2022 (Volume 2), and September 2022 (Volume 3).
Talking about the series, Keanu said "The structure of the story is, in the modern-day, we're following a character named B and then so we have the origin story of this character where we learn about his parents, how he was born, how did he become a kind of a half-mortal half god. At the same time, we're in present-day America where our character B has made an agreement with the United States government, where he can hide in that with his violence and what he has his compulsion to do, which he doesn't really want to do anymore. But in exchange, they're studying him, and so there's a scientific, emotional/psychological kind of background in his present day. The origin story that kind of flashes back and so these parallel worlds come into this moment through the architecture of the piece. We're hoping for 12 issues. I mean that's what we're aiming to do…."
"I was talking to the director of John Wick, Chad Stahelski, well, I've got this idea, and I want to do this thing where like a guy punches through someone's chest or rips an arm off or slices someone in half and maybe fights through different eras and times. He's a Viking; he's with the Roman armies and the Napoleonic army. He's in the first World War and then started to turn into, well, who is that person, who is that guy, who can be that vessel, what's that story. And then this kind of origin story of… I don't want to give too much away. His dad's not immortal, and then that turned into the kind of potential of this guy who's cursed. He's compelled to violence, but he doesn't want kill, he finds life precious, but he can't die. And so I thought that was an interesting problem and I thought it was a kind of interesting psychological journey – for us time speeds up, for him time is slowing down. He wants it to end; he wants his mortality; he wants not to be compelled to this violence. And I thought that this also could shine a light on some of our own nature, and just having this kind of the pathos to this character, who's got trauma. He can remember everything, but he's got memories that he doesn't want to remember, so I thought that was psychologically interesting and something that we could all relate to."