The Buzzkill story continues as “Ruben” tries, against greater odds, to remain clean and sober. It’s a task easier said than done. If you read Issue #1, you’ll recall that Ruben is a superhero who gains phenomenal powers from abusing alcohol and drugs. But, his addiction has ruined his life and ended his relationship with his girlfriend, Nikki.
Now that Ruben’s on the straight and narrow, every supervillain he’s ever fought in his career descends upon him at once to exact revenge. Of course, he’s not entirely powerless. Alcohol isn’t the only thing that enhances him, and even things like caffeine and nicotine can give him certain abilities. But, are they enough? Can he keep himself alive without falling off the wagon?
There’s plenty of action and adventure in this story, but it’s really pretty secondary to what the comic is really about. It’s not about Ruben beating up bad guys, or about them beating up him. In a way, it’s about Ruben beating up himself. It’s about him reflecting on his own life and trying to live with himself. Trying to make sense of the mess he’s made of his existence. And, the way it’s done is powerful and actually rather beautiful. There’s almost a tragic poetry to his inner monologue.
In this issue, more than the last one, I really felt myself rooting for Ruben. I want to see him succeed. I want to see him conquer his demons and find a place in life that’s not defined by his addictions. But, the cost is clearly going to be higher than he’s prepared for.
But, that doesn’t mean that the issue is entirely without humor. There’s a new character named Doctor Blaqk, sort of a laid back hippie type who lightens the mood. Of course, that’s not all he does, but to get into who, exactly, he is, what, exactly, he might be, and what that might mean for the rest of the story would take several pages of speculation and at least a couple of spoilers. Suffice it to say, he’s cool and funny and promises to be very important.
This is a good, surprisingly deep, and well-written comic. The door is open for a lot of possibilities going forward. I look forward to exploring those possibilities in future issues and seeing whether there really is hope for Ruben after all.