As we close out 2020, we thought we'd take a look at one of the biggest projects of the year… that never was. Over on Earth-2, Boom Studios had one of the biggest series launches of 2020 with Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR in October. But this version of BRZRKR looked quite different from the series retailers and fans are looking forward to in February in our reality.
We have reason to believe the BRZRKR of Earth-2 would have been co-written by Donny Cates (who in this reality was also the Marketing guy at Image Comics). Cates himself posted a photo of meeting John Wick on Twitter before thinking better of it and subsequently deleting it. Thankfully the internet (and Reddit) is forever and nothing ever completely disappears.
Was Cates in the running to write BRZRKR but had to bow out? Those pesky exclusive Marvel contracts? And while we'll likely never know why Cates didn't end up signing onto the project, it is fun to imagine what his version of BRZRKR would have looked like. We know Keanu is a longtime comics fan and loves surprising fans, so perhaps we'll still see him make a surprise cameo in Cates and Geoff Shaw's massive hit Crossover? Might is also have been drawn by original BRZRKR artist Alessandro Vitti and have been published already?
The real question that remains is just how big will the launch of BRZRKR be in February 2021 with Matt Kindt co-writing with Reeves and formerly Marvel exclusive Ron Garney on art duties?
Throughout 2020, Boom and Image have been building off each other with bigger and bigger creator-owned launches. First, Boom's Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo broke 50,000 copies, then Rick Remender and Lewis LaRosa's Scumbag hit 75,000 at Image, followed by We Only Find Them When They're Dead by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo cresting 90,000 copies back at Boom, and then Image took the crown with the undisputed king of 2020 creator-owned comics – the aforementioned Crossover reaching over 150,000 copies.
BRZRKR looks like the clear frontrunner to be the biggest launch in February with its primary competition being Radiant Black from Image, some King In Black tie-in issues from Marvel, and various filler material spinning out of Future Shock from DC. And while January releases don't look like they'll compete with BRZRKR either, Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel's Nocterra's launch in March should make things interesting. Of course, if the two Kickstarter campaigns are any indication of reader interest, BRZRKR should still come out ahead of Nocterra.
But will retailers order it higher than the current reigning creator-owned champion, Crossover, and put Boom in Image's highly desired 100K Club? Is Neo bigger than the cult leader behind Devil's AdvoCATES? BRZRKR #1 doesn't FOC until January 25th and won't arrive in stores until February 17th so there's plenty of time to speculate.