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A superhero who gets his powers from addictive substances? Interesting! The main character’s ongoing battle between giving into his addictions and gaining the ability to be more than he was versus overcoming his addictions and returning to the (weaker) man he once was. Which side will he choose? And which side would you choose, if you were put in the same position?

I’m doing double-duty with this comic because, a few days after I received me review copy, I found out we would be discussing it in the SuperMOOC that I’m currently enrolled in, Social Issues Through Comic Books. So not only do I get to talk about it with my fellow classmates, I get to see their perspective of the comic in relation to my own.

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

The comic takes an interesting approach to addiction, as it takes the concept and expands it into a much more visual and moral realm of the struggles addicts go through. When you take addictive substances, it changes you into someone else. Your concepts of reality are altered and you may feel like you are stronger and better than you once were. But what if this were true? What if you became super, able to bring forth good as a result of your addiction? That’s what the main character, who we first know as Reuben, is faced with. He feels that he becomes a better person because of his addictions. However, he also becomes a more violent person, as do many addicts, and that counteracts the good he feels that he’s doing. Knowing this, he tries to overcome his addiction, but it’s also difficult to knowingly walk away from something that changes him into the man he seeks to be. What would you do in that situation?

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The ideas that somehow he will control and enjoy his liquor drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.”

Reuben feels like he can handle his addictions, but it’s immediately clear that he cannot. While he asserts that he can control the powers that he gains, it’s evident that he can’t. He was pushed to seek help after a bloody battle that put his opponent in the hospital. In group, it’s clear he has strong anger issues. How can he control something that’s ultimately controlling him? But on the opposite side, how can he cast aside the advantage it gives him when there’s bad guys out that that want to use his weakness to their benefit? If he gets help, he’s putting others in danger. If he doesn’t get help, he’s putting others in danger. It’s a no-win situation. Added to that is the idea of inherited addictions and inherited personality traits, as we see with his father and how Reuben turned out. Can he break out of the destructive cycle that he’s in or is he forever destined to be his father’s son? It’s a fascinating illustration of the battles addicts go through. Even when the intention of being better is there, the journey is difficult.

Pick up your copy of Buzzkill today. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5 stars