Dark Horse has already flipped the idea of being a superhero on its head with its amazing miniseries Buzzkill. But how does Donny Cates end this series? Will we remember it as one of the best miniseries of the year, or will it be a flop? Is it good?
Buzzkill #4 (of 4) (Dark Horse Comics)
I love this comic. So much. The pages of this issue are seeping with emotion, making it so that even if someone missed all three prior issues they would still feel for these characters; not that anyone would ever want to skip #1-3.
Francis just ran into his father, someone he hoped to have never seen again. Even after he is ten steps through his recovery it is so very tempting for Francis to just blaze one and kill his father like he knows he can. But he can’t sink to that low; he won’t. And is he willing to endanger Nikki, the one thing he really loves and cares about? Everyone is going to get hurt, that’s for sure.
Buzzkill #4 takes off like a buffalo in a soap opera. That is, extremely forceful and dramatically. Francis is playing with his action figures as a child when his father comes in and gives him a speech about what it means to be a hero and if Francis is actually a hero. And decades later they’re still having the same conversation, except here things get a little more heated.
Francis is so determined not to relapse that he is willing to let him and Dr. Blaqk get brutally injured before he would do drugs or take a drink. His willpower is not only an story element but a character, and it’s both a protagonist and an antagonist. His willpower keeps him from killing or causing any more damage by taking a drink but also keeps him from fighting back, keeping him subject to great pain physically and emotionally.
Of course, in the end, it’s the threat of his dad killing Francis’ girlfriend that gets him to smoke again but it wasn’t after a severe beating that he decided to take action. The scene where Francis finally kills his dad might be one of the most beautiful, traumatizing, just incredible moments in comics this year. Francis’ thoughts are moving and insightful and the way the story concludes is almost like Inception, wonderful but lingering as you aren’t entirely sure what to make of it. The pitch perfect ending that will keep the memory of this series burning for years to come.
I am convinced of one thing: Geoff Shaw is a god. The line work on this comic is just so amazingly detailed it’s incredible. The way he creates such dark and gritty shading with lots of lines and little ink making the art melt off the page and stay in your mind. I swear, I’m going to see that panel where Francis drags his dad into space in my sleep tonight.
And let’s talk about that stippling at the beginning of this issue, shall we? What a beautiful and sophisticated artistic style that shows that Geoff Shaw has more than one mode and is in fact quite versatile. I am a stickler for stippling (say that five times fast) and this is really as good as stippling gets. Even more onto that, the bright colors used to paint the image of Francis as a youth juxtapose nicely with the darkness in the rest of the comic.
- Satisfying yet lingering conclusion
- Really emotionally driven
- Geoff Shaw’s work is remarkable
- This is the last issue of Buzzkill
Lettering is great as always, except I’ve never really talked about it much up until this point. I’m definitely in support of the decision to not capitalize everything as instead of a high-flying adventure with tons of exaggerations this is a story very human with human tendencies. I think that had this comic gone the standard ‘all capitalized, one word bolded’ route it would have been much less emotional and credible.
Is It Good?
Not good, the best. My favorite mini-series of the year wraps up with a hell of a conclusion.