Civilizations rise and fall, and all things must wither with time. However, according to the meme culture on the Internet, Keanu Reeves is an immortal being. BOOM! Studios plays on that premise and reimagines the thespian as an indestructible warrior with an insatiable hunger for war, born thousands upon thousands of years ago. A blood-soaked tale of relentless violence and a quest for self-identity, BRZRKR gives depth to the origin of its mysterious protagonist while propelling the story in a new direction. Written by the tag team of Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt with artwork from Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree and lettering by Clem Robins, BRZRKR #8 dives deep into the sci-fi waters, muddying more than tidying things up.
BRZRKR #8 takes Keanu's Unute to an uninhabited corner of the world and buries him two miles under in the most strained physical and mental conditions he has ever faced. Caldwell wants the Berserker to remember, go beyond his earliest memories to the source of his progenitor. In doing so, Unute unleashes raw, dark energy from him that latches onto his therapist and handler, Dr. Diana Ahuja, leaving her in some sort of trance. As the test site erupts under a massive shockwave, there is nothing left except a giant hole in the ground, leaving Caldwell with an empty crater where the Berserker was supposed to be.
While the previous issues were expository in nature, delving deep into the Berserker's history and predisposition to violence, they also explored the essence of the character, who is impervious to physical harm but not to the gnawing of time. Unute wants mortality to be free of his earthly shackles, and, to reach this goal, he must first acquaint himself with his past and go beyond the time of his origin. BRZRKR #8 makes an abrupt jump from action-fantasy to science fiction in a story that moves straight from point to point without any actual progression of the plot. Caldwell becomes the unlikely point-of-view character in the book, with his conversations and one-sided monologues shining a light on the events happening behind the scenes other than in the main narrative. Reeves and Kindt use this issue as filler to connect the dots while keeping the suspense festering, adding more questions than questions.
From Humvees getting wrecked in an earthquake to the organic matter suspended animation in a laboratory, Ron Garney's artwork showcases the versatile range of his illustrations that capture even minute details with ease. His bold inking and gristly hatching lines give the artwork a natural grittiness, imbuing a sinister ambiance into the story. Even though action and gore take a back seat, there is enough thrill in this issue thanks to Garney's framing of the panels that make the scenes look more dramatic and involve the characters in more emphatic shots. Colorist Bill Crabtree takes the book to the next level with his thunderous coloring as black and blue whips of lightning branch out in time, dousing the backgrounds in primary color tones.
BRZRKR #8 has all the thrills and frills as expected but without the accompanying carnage that has become a staple at this point. While Caldwell and his men are about to achieve everything they had hoped for, no such liberation is in sight for the prehistoric Berserker. Lost in a dark world, in a time before his birth, Unute calls out to the one person who may have the answers that he is looking for. Running parallel narratives that stoke the fires of excitement, BRZRKR #8 ends on a cryptic cliffhanger that promises new crossroads for the immortal Keanu Reeves.