‘Berserker Unbound #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

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…

The conclusion to Berserker Unbound hits all of the notes the story sought to accomplish. The typical story of a warrior from the past (or an alternate dimension) that finds their way into a modern-day sprawling metropolis is quite subverted. Usually, these stories see the hero begin as a fish out of water, quickly integrating into society and partnering with a person of middle class or higher socioeconomic status (usually a female) that becomes a sidekick and eventually a love interest. Berserker Unbound eschews these tropes, the reasoning overtly given by the Berserker himself. The modern-day world is no different than the world he comes from, as his world is also full of the haves/have-nots, only he refers to them as “born from the mist;” still, they are synonymous with modern world's 1%. The major difference: They can use magic. The fact that the Berserker/Cobb is able to best the Demon King - the stand in for power, corruption, and the 1% - carries a peppering of a Marxist theme.

The series ends on an optimistic note, as both the Berserker and Cobb are able to find closure with the loss of their families and embrace each other's friendship. In theory, Berserker Unbound sets itself up for subsequent stories, if it chooses to pursue the continuing adventures of the duo.

As usual, the artwork in Berserker Unbound is outstanding, with the pages either fully embracing two-page battle spreads, or, as in prior issues, single panels that are further sectioned off to give the illusion of even more mobility. The city is completely absent in this issue, with all of the action taking place in the dark forest/city park, a full embrace of the sword and sorcery formula with axes lopping off heads and an evil wizard casting his cantrips. And while, visually, Berserker Unbound embraces the fantasy formula, it has enough subversion to make it unique and stand out among other fantasy comics presently out there.

Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (writer), Mike Deodato Jr. (art, cover artist), Frank Martin (colorist, cover artist), Steve Wands (letterer), Christian Ward (variant cover artist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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