Berserker Unbound by Jeff Lemire

Title: Berserker Unbound.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Jeff Lemire.
Artist(s): Mike Deodato Jr..
Colourist(s): Frank Martin.
Letterer(s): Steve Wands.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020.
Pages: 136.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9781506713373.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like if some of your beloved fictional characters were sent into a whole other universe, one that is unusually different from their usual setting? Bilbo Baggins in space? Sherlock Holmes in an underwater kingdom? Harry Potter at Disney Land? There’s nothing more discomforting for a character but to be in another environment where nothing seems familiar. However, even in the oddest corners of the universe, you’ll still look to survive, to understand what you’ll do next with your life. Having previously worked together on a short comic book series featuring Marvel’s infamous villain Thanos, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Deodato Jr. return together to tackle a brand-new creator-owned story called Berserker Unbound.

What is Berserker Unbound about? A tragedy strikes a merciless sword-and-sorcery warrior, sending him on a deadly bloodlust, desperately wishing to get his hands on the individual behind it. The sudden appearance of an eerie and evil wizard, however, invites questions to this unhinged man that forces him down a sketchy path and into a wormhole that will forever change his perception of life. Stranded in a modern-day metropolis where poverty reigns in all of its fury, he now meets and befriends a homeless man but their inability to communicate due to linguistic differences creates an odd yet heartwarming relationship that will help them find a new purpose for their respective lives.

Writer Jeff Lemire brings in a twist to Berserker’s legacy as he sends him to an unexpected corner of the world that is way too familiar to readers and tries to blend both the mythological fantasy elements to the post-apocalyptic elements. There’s a certain sense of understanding regarding this character showcased by the writer that is quite appealing as you dive into this self-contained adventure and see this rage-filled yet kind-hearted hero tries to make sense of the world to which he’s warped to. Immediately knowing a significant loss, witnessed early in this story, the protagonist is set up for an emotional journey that is somewhat rewarding by the end of the tale. It is essentially through his quickly-developed friendship with the homeless man Joe Cobb that the story creates an immersive tone and establishes this story’s world, character, and journey.

Within four issues, writer Jeff Lemire does achieve some pretty decent character development, especially between Berserker and his new friend, but it crumbles by the weight of the weak storyline that is introduced here. There is simply too much that was left unexplained that could’ve made the reading experience much more rewarding. The clever clash in cultural and linguistic realities offered some subtle comic relief but the rushed execution made for a story that barely scratched the surface of what might be a series, despite there not being any sequels currently being worked on. However, artist Mike Deodato steals the show here with his incredible visual story-telling. His character design is imposing and marvelous, his landscapes are epic and breath-taking, his panel structure is original and captures the brutality of this warrior, especially during gruesome highlighted fighting sequences that honours the violence this hero is capable of.

Berserker Unbound is a brutally beautiful yet regrettably superficial adventure focused on friendship amidst loss with an original world-building twist.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!



32 thoughts on “Berserker Unbound by Jeff Lemire

    1. In most comics, when a character speaks a different language than the comic book’s original language (e.g. French within English or Alien within English), they put angle brackets around the dialogue within the speech bubble and write what’s inside in English. That was the case here. While they try to communicate, the reader can understand both of them and see if they known what they’re saying, if they’re working out of pure luck or through guesswork. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It is, right? I could reread it just to gaze at the artwork. Especially the action scenes. Stunning stuff.

      I think it’s a new character based on the Norse lore. He sort of gives off Conan vibes too but the intention was to create one that was menacing but with a heart.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a hit or miss with Lemire for me too. I still give him a chance to see what crazy ideas he has. And to see him abuse those father-son relationship bonds in his stories. That being said, I have a “digital mini review wrap up” to come that you’ll love, now that I know how much of a fan you are of Lemire. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Yea, I would like to see Harry Potter go Disney World. Better yet, Snape or Voldemort or Professor McGonagall or Dumbledore at Disney World riding a rollercoaster or something lol!
    Anyway, I’m loving the illustrations in this one. I saw it my comic bookstore’s website and have been tempted to check it out. So now I plan since you piqued my interest with this review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha Dumbledore on a rollercoaster. Game over. The sight of it alone could kill people! 😛

      I think it’s totally worth checking out. It’s short, sweet, fun, pretty. It’s not overly-complex at all. It opens a world of opportunities too but no long term projects in sight for now. Hope you enjoy it if you ever give it a try. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My first reaction is this storyline feels like one that’s been done too often, and based on your review it doesn’t appear all that different from what’s come before. Granted, that’s not to say I can’t still find enjoyment in a storyline that’s been done to death, but it does take something extra, and it sounds like this doesn’t quite have that. I do like the artwork, though, it looks absolutely fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree with you. It’s why I still wanted to try it out too. I had a feeling that it might not do something that has never been done before but the final product still seemed decent enough for a nice quick read, which was the case in the end. Thanks for reading, Todd! 😀


    1. You know… I wanted to mention Batman somewhere too but he’s been through so many “Elseworlds” stories that he’s pretty much done it all hahaha

      Oh, really? That’s fascinating. Then again.. “Not speak to you” and “not good” aren’t necessarily the same, right? 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bilbo in space?! BUT HE WILL STARVEE! You know the dietary needs of a hobbit, don’t you?! 🥺🥺

    There is an evil wizard TOOOO?!?! 😍😍😍😍 And that quote you chose, ITS SO BEAUTIFUL! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!

    Oops! I am so sorry the storyline fell weak later on, Lashaan! BUT I AM

    Loved the review. As always! And you know Harry Potter at Disneyland would actually be a GREAT idea! 😉🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There seems to be a tendency for comic books to have a “rushed” sense of storytelling. I wonder if it’s due to them knowing there will be pictures, which can help carry the story along. Somewhat of a reliance on a picture says a thousand words.

    Liked by 1 person

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