BRZRKR as a whole isn’t exactly the most scientifically accurate story in the world, but BRZRKR Vol. 2 really throws any pretenses of it out the window. Honestly, it can be unintentionally hilarious to even people with only basic knowledge of science. Especially if they initially only came for the bloody action.

BRZRKR Vol. 2: Details

"BRZRKR Vol. 2" cover art by Rafael Grampá.
It’s unfortunate that he only has 2 hands to wield them all. Cover artist: Rafael Grampá.

BRZRKR Vol. 2 is the 2nd graphic novel compilation of the action thriller comic book series BRZRKR (you can read a review for Vol. 1 here), compiling BRZRKR #5-8 into a single softcover graphic novel. Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt (Folklords, Grass Kings) remain the cowriters behind it. Ron Garney (Wolverine, Captain America) returns as the artist, with Bill Crabtree (BPRD) returning as the colorist, and Clem Robins (Hellboy) returning as the letterer. Rafael Grampá is the artist for this graphic novel’s cover art, which was also the main cover art for BRZRKR #2. Lastly, BOOM! Studios remains the publisher behind this graphic novel, as they were for the comic book series.

BRZRKR Vol. 2 went on sale on September 21, 2022 for a retail price of $16.99. You can purchase it from Amazon. Curiously, this graphic novel isn’t available in the BOOM! Studios webstore even though they’re the ones publishing it. I guess you’ll have to check back in later with them to see if they have it. Also, for some reason, Amazon lists the release date as September 27, 2022; so you’ll have to wait a bit to get it once you’ve bought it from there.

Warning: spoilers for BRZRKR Vol. 2 (and by extension BRZRKR #5-8) below. If you want to read just how unintentionally hilarious this graphic novel is, then stop here, and come back once you’ve recovered from the critical research failures of this story.

BRZRKR Vol. 2: Spoilery Plot Summary

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This makes sense in hindsight. Mostly. Kind of. I think.

BRZRKR Vol. 2 picks up from where we last left off, with B getting a nighttime visit from Diana to have a late-night drink and discuss how to make him mortal. After expressing her frustrations with the lack of progress, the scene then cuts to Diana running another recall experiment on B. B recalls all the times he fell in love with various women and tried to have kids with them, only for them all to die in various ways natural and unnatural, and the babies to all are stillborn. The vivid memory recall makes him explode (literally), trashing the lab. But not before Diana and her mysterious superior got the data they needed.

B then goes on a mission with some special forces to retrieve an artifact. The whole team dies save for the leader Jim, the evac helicopter gets shot down, and he and B are forced to flee on foot. They make it to a mountaintop LZ and get picked up by yet another helicopter, allowing them to finally get back home along with the artifact. Said artifact turns out to be one of B’s severed hands, which someone in ancient times had collected to apparently worship. Delivering it to Diana’s superior (a Dr. Caldwell) results in B learning about Protocol X, and then agreeing to it. What is Protocol X? Well…

A Really Bad Idea?

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Not the most helpful person you are, Diana.

As it turns out, Protocol X is codeword for “Bury B in a box 2 miles underground somewhere in the Mojave Desert and see what happens”. What actually happens is that he explodes again, only much bigger. As in: he leaves a 2-mile wide crater in the desert, killing 11 US Army soldiers observing him, and accidentally hitting Diana with a black bolt of lightning that knocks her out. When Dr. Caldwell and Jim investigate the box though, they find it empty. Viewing camera footage reveals that B had somehow vanished in a burst of light, and his point of view reveals that he’s finally meeting his father. Not the one who raised him, but the god-like being who impregnated his birth mother.

Meanwhile, Dr. Caldwell is speaking to his own superiors via a cyberpunk-y floating eyeball machine. Said superiors are pissed that he lost B. Caldwell, however, assures them that this isn’t the case. In fact, they now have a direct link to that god-like being in the form of a darkened tank. We then get a look into the tank, revealing Diana floating in it in some kind of life support suit. She sure didn’t have solid black demonic eyes the last time we saw her though. What does this mean? Well, that’s what we’ll presumably find out in BRZRKR Vol. 3.

BRZRKR Vol. 2: The Good

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I guess she really needs a drink.

The best part of BRZRKR Vol. 2 is the story. It has a nice mix of very bloody action and conspiracy that should satisfy any action film junkie. Not all the blood is from B’s enemies though. There’s a notable scene of blood and gore involving one of B’s lovers, who’d apparently died in childbirth. It’s one of the most unexpected sources of blood and gore you’d ever expect in this story. It actually adds some variety to the story here in terms of, well, its violence. At the very least, it acknowledges that a lot of women died in childbirth back in those days.

The art of BRZRKR Vol. 2 is the other good part of the graphic novel/comic book series. Ron Garney and Bill Crabtree mostly does a good job with the art, especially during the bloody action scenes. There’s a good amount of detail in those scenes, which is especially relevant to a comic that relies heavily on blood and gore to attract its audiences. Again, action junkies will enjoy this.

BRZRKR Vol. 2: The Bad

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I guess music just isn’t B’s thing.

Now we come to my principle complaint: the rather comedic critical research failure. When Caldwell is pointing at a map showing how he’d been tracking B’s movements throughout history, he points at a map of…Pangaea. The last time Earth’s continents were bunched up like that was 200 million years ago. That was long, long, LONG before humanity even remotely existed. So why Caldwell pointed to it utterly baffles me. Maybe he thinks humans lived alongside dinosaurs like in that stupid One Million B.C. film? Who knows? In any case, while hilarious, this also broke suspension of disbelief for me, making it a negative in my opinion.

As another complaint, Ron Garney’s art seems to occasionally suffer some failures in BRZRKR Vol. 2. For example, there is a scene where some Nazi soldiers are attacking what looks like a Romani caravan in 1941. The scene is meant to be serious, but the seriousness is ruined by the Nazis having blobs for hands. Yes, apparently Nazis don’t develop fingers until they reach a later stage in life. Also, the guns in the story are so stylized that, in most cases, you can’t tell what it is they’re firing. Not even during the WWII scenes. This last part is a bit of a pet peeve for me, considering that I’m a bit of a WWII nut. Your mileage may vary there.

Source: BOOM! Studios