Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colors: Frank Martin
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
Lemire! Deodato Jr.! The warrior known as the Mongrel King, trapped in a modern world with no one but a sympathetic homeless man to keep him company, finds himself confronted by new dangers and old threats from his homeland. From the Eisner Award-winning team of Jeff Lemire, Mike Deodato Jr., and Frank Martin comes this urban warrior fantasy series!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the things I’ve come to appreciate with Jeff Lemire’s works is that he does know when to stay around for a while with a project and when something needs to be shorter. With Berserker Unbound, I’m not on the same page as him and hope that there’s more here because while this wraps up solidly, I want more. I want to explore this more. And I’m wanting a whole lot more of Mike Deodato Jr.’s artwork on it because the pairing is fantastic. This issue lets us get into a decent bit of a fight and cut loose and with the mixture of magic and otherworldliness, it all comes together beautifully. Just the sense of power that he imbues in the Mongrel King is something you don’t see on the page often in a great many series.
The arrival of the Demon King and a group of his warriors drew the Mongrel King and Joe to them already and Joe is certainly surprised by what he sees – and almost a bit too loud. What we see is the hunt underway as the warriors look for the Mongrel King and he hunts them down pretty quickly, one by one, picking them off in brutal ways. It’s not overdone – I say as a head goes flying – because it’s kept straightforward and without a lot of real brutality and gore shown to it. It’s efficient and brutal in that way, but it shows the strength and intelligence that the Mongrel King works with. It takes probably half the book to work through that group but with gorgeous layouts and some really powerful looking sequences for all of the characters in how they present amid the fight, it’s some of the most gorgeous pages I’ve seen in a comic.
Naturally, the Demon King has to get involved directly and he’s smart enough to grab Joe to make the threat. But this plays out in unexpected ways that delight the reader and surprise everyone else. But it allows for revenge to finally be served and a sense of closure for the Mongrel King, even if the loss will linger for years to come. That this wraps things up isn’t exactly a bad thing as I like that Joe realizes that he has a friend in this and nothing to stick around for in this world. I can’t imagine he’ll be much better off in the other world, but it might suit him more overall and give him more purpose. Just the bit we see with the two of them taking in the carnage of the area, being able to speak together, and set off on a new journey is exciting. It makes it clear that this is the end but I really hope that this team finds a way to explore more of this someday.
More, please? This was an absolutely delightful book. It had a good sense of pacing about it that almost had you believing it would run for twice as long and explore more things. But it has all the makings of a short film style piece that gets to the point but lingers enough to have meaning. Lemire’s script works really well as the narration fills in some of the blanks but he lets Deodato’s artwork do the majority of the talking here. It’s an engaging and beautiful work and if this is all there is then the team should be really proud of it and I envy those that get to make the discovery of it in the years to come as they’ll be blown away by how beautiful it is.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 6th, 2019