Buzzard issue 1 by Andrea Wolf and Ezequiel Assis published by Wolf Cave Comics.
You know how it is. You are 16 and think you know everything and can beat everyone. You can handle yourself in a fight, more than handle yourself. Maybe you go running with the local terrace casuals. Maybe you pull on a spandex suit and patrol the night. Or maybe you hire out your fists for cash.
Buzzard is a tough kid living a tough life with the nonchalant approach that teenagers tend to take. But when he gets to a job and finds someone was there ahead of him, well then things get tricky. His life of violence steps up a notch or two and there will be a price to be paid.
The violence in Buzzard is certainly very present. A good fight scene can be a tricky thing to pull off but Buzzard does a good job of portraying a fight that is exaggerated but believable, with blood, snot and pain and not a little homoeroticism. There is plenty of humour in Buzzard too and our central character (nobody’s hero that’s for sure) has the irrepressible wit and demonic energy of grime stars like Slowthai.
The names that are evoked in Buzzard are telling – Christopher Marlowe, one of the greatest literary talents that this island produced, but at the same time a hedonist and an iconoclast. Like Buzzard, Marlowe was a man who appreciated his pleasures famously noting “all they that love not tobacco and boys were fools” – and who was to meet his end from a knife in a Deptford drinking den. Very Buzzard.
Ezequiel Assis impresses with his artwork. The fight scenes are rendered with dynamism and brutality. Some of the panels depicting the quieter moments use shadows and perspective very effectively.
Buzzard is a wild ride of a comic. It would be easy to just see it as a Kingsman style book, with a bit of Millarworld shock value and with an eye on Hollywood. But there is more going on beneath the surface. Buzzard is an examination of a certain type of ‘Britishness’ – or really ‘Englishness’. The type of patriotism that belongs to the guttersnipe and the cutpurse. The national identity of the chancer and the rogue. After all, the British Empire was full of them. As Buzzard says himself “us lot are the reason this damp speck of an island ended up ruling the world a good while”