Keanu Reeves loves to talk about BRZRKR.
Throughout our interview with the superstar actor from iconic franchises like The Matrix, the Bill & Ted movies, and of course the John Wick series, it shows that he’s fully involved in this new character on whose shoulders he’s building a multimedia franchise. And while he’s far from the first actor to break into the comic book business, Reeves isn’t just lending his name here.
Reeves created the hit series alongside writer Matt Kindt (Dept. H, Mind MGMT) and artist Ron Garney (Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man). The result is a comic that became the best-selling original comic debut of the 21st century (over 600,000 copies sold) following a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign that grossed $ 1.45 million. BRZRKR’s first four-issue story arc is now available in an edition collected by BOOM! Studios, and the fifth issue recently kicked off the second act of the series. IGN sat down with Keanu Reeves and his collaborators about the journey so far and what to expect in this new phase.
BRZRKR: B’s Story
If you are not familiar with BRZRKR, it is the story of B, a man who cannot die. B’s real name is actually Unute, which means “tool” and “weapon,” and almost since birth he has been an instrument of war. It has been an engine of destruction throughout the centuries. He’s so desperate to learn how to end his 80,000-year existence that he willingly allows the United States government to experiment with him and use him as their own one-man killing squad, provided they find a way to end his immortal life.
“I felt that by establishing that he was born 80,000 years ago, there is this perspective,” says Reeves. “There are many places we can go from there and opportunities we can go to. Which is fantastic. The first four issues were an origin story and present day, the way scientists and the government are studying it. Now that we’ve done that, we can go to chapter two and move on. “
Reeves joked that BRZRKR’s narrative canvas is similar to lunch options at a restaurant.
“What do you want to eat? It’s a great menu,” Reeves says. “It’s like when you get the big deli menu, or a box of chocolates, or [vas a] Cheesecake Factory “.
While the first four issues spent a fair amount of time revealing B’s origin story, Kindt revealed that the next few chapters will focus on his current situation working with the United States special forces unit.
“It is currently with a bit of looking back,” says the writer. “But the good thing is that we have a theme for each issue we develop. As if it were love, one is death, one is religion. And then the fourth is friendship. It’s great because we can play with the structure within the structure. “
“The first four issues were very focused on the origin story,” adds Reeves. “Our intention for the second arc, now that we have that groundwork, is to maybe explore a little more of the present. So there will be a change to … see what’s inside. So let’s open this cab *** “
The next chapter will explore more about what Stephen Caldwell is doing. A mysterious bureaucrat at the “undisclosed US government facility in Tacoma, Washington,” where Unute is to be cured and examined, Caldwell’s official title is Head of Legacy Technology Migration and Belief Systems. He is in charge of trying to decipher the origins of Unute, using techniques such as organ regeneration analysis and cognitive neuroscience, with a view to creating an entire army of immortal soldiers. He believes that long-repressed memories are the key to uncovering the secret of Unute’s immortality, so he orders Diana, the BRZRKR psychologist, to search for details that can help them discover where and how Unute was born.
The bloody images of BRZRKR
Given B’s incredible lifespan and experiences (he referenced in an earlier issue the crude medical techniques that doctors used during the American Revolution), there is the possibility of all kinds of BRZRKR adventures set in different time periods. Garney is certainly eager to delve into his past.
“There are so many interesting possibilities,” Garney points out. “There is all this potential throughout this series, for other stories to be told within the stories that are being told now. In fact, today I’m wrapping up the first half of number six, and there’s a scene with these Vikings and I love the damn scene and I’d love to see more of it. That’s what makes it so epic. “
The comic is awash in violence and blood, expertly portrayed by Garney and colorist Bill Crabtree. The level of violence in BRZRKR is enough to make John Wick blush, but Reeves is quick to point out that the story also examines B’s reluctance about the violence he was literally born for.
“I believe that [la violencia] in the comic, yes, it’s graphic, but it’s also very impressionistic, “says Reeves. of blood and guts, there’s an eyeball, and yeah, that’s a bone … but I still feel like it’s pretty impressionistic, in a way. “
The creative trio works in an unorthodox way due to the fact that one member of the team is an international movie star who is in high demand and usually works on a movie. Often times, Kindt and Reeves are teamed up on a story idea before it is committed on paper and sent in full script form to Garney.
“It is quite detailed. There are even suggestions when it comes to designs, so it’s really a back-and-forth affair and I’m actually lucky because they realize the things I’ve been thinking about, “says Garney.” As if there would be things that I plan to go back to, because I go through the pages and I go back and redo them. And there are things that Keanu or Matt might pick up on that I hadn’t thought of. There are little details that make a big difference. So it works really well. ” .
Reeves is particularly encouraged when asked which piece of Garney art stands out not only in the numerous action sequences, but in other less gory moments. He mentions a particular scene as one of his favorites.
“I love the image of B as a child the first time he goes into battle. And his mom says, “but he’s still just a kid.” And he has this battle ax and it’s bigger than him. I love that”.
He also praises the sequence in issue # 4 that revealed the first time Unute realized he was immortal. “That was a great scene, when he comes out of his cocoon and finds out that he can’t die,” says Reeves. “Just those four panels of his reaction, it was a completely different technique there, it almost felt like a video. It was very emotional. “
BRZRKR: Beyond the Comics
Reeves has big plans for BRZRKR. Now that the origin story has been told, the barriers can come loose and the creative team can really let go. Suggest something in the next story arc that he says will be “a lot of fun.” But beyond the comics, Reeves aims to turn his immortal warrior into his next big action franchise.
As he prepares to return as Neo for The Matrix Resurrections in December, he is also co-producing the live-action adaptation of BRZRKR, as well as an anime series, both for Netflix. He credits the streaming platform with being a great partner on both projects, and in case there were any concerns that a BRZRKR movie would tone down the bloodshed seen in the comics, Reeves says Netflix has no qualms. about.
“In terms of working with Netflix, yeah, they have been great. [Les dijimos] “You know, obviously, this is an R-rated piece,” and they said, “yeah, we do. We read it.” And they were fine with it. So yeah, they’ve been very good about it. “
BRZRKR Vol. 1 is available in print and digital.