Issue four of Berserker Unbound concludes Lemire and Deodato’s sword and sorcery mini epic by going full circle and returning to the bloody action and world hopping found in the first issue. This issue sees the Berserker’s arch nemesis, the Demon King, emerge from a portal with an army of other barbarian warriors in tow. One by one, the previously injured Berserker picks off the barbarians in the forest outside the metropolis until finally confronting the Demon King himself. Berserker’s transient friend Cobb becomes an unwitting hostage; however, Cobb, the Demon King, and his magic are not from the same world, so perhaps Cobb isn’t the helpless hostage as he appears to be…
Sabbath is the newest novel from Nick Mamatas, author of I Am Providence, Bullettime, and The People’s Republic of Everything collection. At its heart, Sabbath is a neo-peplum story in the sword and sorcery vein, but a delight to genre fans as it takes on a cinematic quality, borrowing elements from fare such as Highlander, Terminator, Army of Darkness, Warlock, Beastmaster 2, and even 8 Heads in a Dufflebag.
On the Night Border is a collection of fifteen horror short stories by New York-based writer James Chambers. The stories within the collection are a mixture of previously published stories and ones appearing for the very first time. The tones and subgenres of the stories vary, from ghost tales (“Lost Daughters”) to possession (“Marco Polo”) to rich folks who have a dark, evil side to them (“The Many Hands Inside the Mountain” and “Picture Man”). Some stories dabble in other universes and IPs, such as Cthulhu Mythos-compatible stories (“A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills,” “Odd Quahogs”), Lin Carter’s Anton Zarnak (“A Wandering Blackness”), Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow (“The Chamber of Last Earthly Delights”), and even '70s cult classic Kolchak the Night Stalker (“Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Lost Boy”).
The third issue of Berserker Unbound take a somber tone as the titular Berserker resigns to his fate that he is stuck with the homeless man Cobb. The two retreat from the city back to Cobb’s forest encampment and begin to bond over drinks that the Berserker had purchased with his golden coins. The Berserker is still very much in mourning after the loss of his wife and child, and after two teenage hooligans threaten Cobb and are subsequently chased off, he learns that Cobb has lost his family to an accident, as well. It is at that moment that the portal that brought the Berserker to the present-day, big-city activities and a new threat emerge for the Berserker.
The Duff meets Dungeons & Dragons. Clueless meets Conan. Princess Diaries meets Percy Jackson. Sword and sorcery meets high school romance. Such are the appropriate descriptors for R. Litfin’s The Lost Noble, the first book in her Chronicles of Royal High series which combines elements of high fantasy with young adult sentiments.
Picking up immediately after issue one, issue two of Berserker Unbound sees the Berserker more-or-less befriending Joe Cobb, the transient he encountered after emerging from the cave portal. Though the two characters are unable to understand each other’s speech, Cobb invites the Berserker to his forest camp, where he bandages him up and provides him a tin of food. The next day, after disguising the Berserker in more common clothing, both make their way into the city to visit the food bank and a liquor store. The Berserker is perplexed by the squalor the other transients live in and awed by the skyscrapers of the city; however, when it comes to pass that Cobb is not able to help the Berserker further in his quest to find the wizard, he sets off into the city alone.
Moon Maid: Catacombs of the Moon is a new series that continues not only from the original Edgar Rice Burroughs’ book, The Moon Maid (1926) but picks up after the events of The Moon Maid: Fear on Four Worlds comic series with references to the Pellucidar and Carson of Venus series, as well. Moon Maid is a unique juxtaposition of the best of all Burroughs’ writing; it's a combination of sword-and-planet along with Hollow Earth, as the setting of the series takes place inside the jungle interior of Earth’s moon called Va-nah.
Power-Con, as in prior years, delivers heavily on quality programming for its attendees, and this year was no different, with panels discussing everything from toys to the big news of Kevin Smith bringing He-Man to Netflix. As big of a news item as that is, the acclaimed She-Ra and the Princess of Power had just started its third season on Netflix earlier in August. To commemorate the event and all that the cartoon has accomplished thus far, Power-Con gathered the writers of She-Ra for an in-depth panel on not just the She-Ra cartoon, but what it is like to be a writer for the show and the important aspects – from diversity to creating a safe space – that they encourage.
Berserker Unbound is a four-issue series from Dark House that brings the sword and sorcery genre straight to modern-day New York. In a similar vein to works such as the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Hercules in New York, the Julian Sands film, Warlock, Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, and the upcoming Nick Mamatas book, Sabbath, the first issue of Berserker Unbound displaces the titular berserker from the fantasy past into a modern-day metropolis – New York.
Issue three is the final installment of the Carson of Venus: The Flames Beyond story arc. The previous two issues saw Carson Napier captured by the villainous Varlek Sar and meeting Loto, an Earth-born woman who is gifted with the same astral projection powers as Napier. Sar tricks Napier in becoming an experiment in his weird science device that is able to not only make real Napier’s astral projections, but duplicate them, as well.