Berserker - Unleashed, review: the real battle is in your soul

Berserker - Unleashed, review: the real battle is in your soul

Berserker - Unleashed, review

We do not know what we will find in the volume that sees Jeff Lemire written on the cover. Not satisfied with having brought his inventiveness within the superhero comic majors, the author from Ontario has however shown his personality free from the bonds imposed by moving within the continuity of Marvel or DC. It is no coincidence that some of his best works are linked to his production as a free hitter, a period in which by binding even more emancipated labels he managed to conceive narrative universes with a peculiar charm, such as Sweeth Tooth or Descender and Ascender. A career studded with little gems that is now enriched with Berserker - Unleashed, published in America by Dark Horse Comics and brought to Italian comics by BAO Publishing.

In Dark Horse, Lemire has created the Black Hammer saga, which with Berserker - Unleashed shares one aspect: the reworking of a familiar concept, in a different light. Black Hammer showed how Lemire is a master of this narrative game, capturing the essence of the initial narrative context, but prompting the reader to see it from a different perspective. A well thought-out mechanism of false mirrors, in which established aspects of the genre narrative actually hide intuitions and creative flashes that surprise the reader. A defined stylistic imprint, which also returns in Berserker - Unleashed.

Berserker - Unleashed: a touching story about losing and accepting one's condition

This narrative ploy is often identified by authors as one functional tool to paint our world free from its hypocrisies, shown not only in its most fascinating features, but by painting its limits and ugliness, with ruthless clarity. Lemire with his Berserker shows, once again, that he has grasped this suggestion, choosing to decline it within a story in which the fantastic element finds an emotional correspondence within two profoundly human dramas.

The Bastard King is an invincible, indomitable warrior. With his strength he has revealed himself to be the best fighter in the world of his, but coming to be ready to give up his existence of battles and blood for the love of his partner, Rhona, and their little daughter. But after an absence of a year to accomplish yet another feat, the warrior returns to his home to discover that a merciless enemy has slaughtered his people, unleashing the furious wrath of revenge in him.

Nel attempt to carry out a massacre that avenges the death of his loved ones and delivers him a glorious end, the Bastard King, forced to face an overwhelming mass of enemies and seriously wounded, seeks escape, finding shelter in a mysterious cave. Inside them, a series of magical runes illuminate a room from which, magically, the barbarian is taken to another world. Our world.

And here, as expected, Lemire hits the reader's heart. It would have been too easy to involve the warrior in a series of muscular and adrenaline-pumping fights, perhaps transforming him into the hero of our world. Lemire instead puts the barbarian in contact with a pariah, the mature Joe Cobb. Joe is a homeless man who has decided to live in the woods on the edge of an unspecified American city, living on the assistance of the Salvation Army in order to maintain a detachment from his past.

Initially between the two , thanks to the impossibility of communicating, a complex dynamic develops which Lemire skillfully exploits to create a sort of game of emotional refractions, in which both interpret the gestures of the other according to their own perception. If the Barbarian sees in this alien world a land populated by mysterious characters and immense buildings, for the homeless this thug is a foreigner with a few wheels out of place, to whom, however, he offers his friendship also to cure a loneliness that begins to weigh on the his everyday life.

To dominate, at first joke, is the difficult acceptance of the loss by the Bastard King, who unable to process the loss pursues his revenge as a last act, but finds in Joe a kindred soul, which understands his pain. Both suffered an unjust mourning, which broke their souls, but if the barbarian has his lifeline in revenge, for the homeless, isolation from the world was his refuge, choosing to live in memory as an expiation.

Lemire, on these two narrative pillars, builds two moments of heartbreaking suffering, especially when it comes to showing Joe's deafening despair, when it seems that what remains of his world has been definitively broken. The essence of Berserker - Scatenanto is contained in the poignant question of a broken Joe, apparently defeated by the last injustice of his grim existence:

"Why don't they leave me at least this? […] This is the problem… in the end it all vanishes "

United by pain, two men seek a new reason for life

The Bastard King and the homeless are a perfect match. heroes, but of human beings. United by pain and a mute understanding made up of shared emotions, the two manage to create a bond that goes beyond words, but takes on the tones of a catharsis, an elaboration of the mourning that unites the two men, celebrated in the finale of Berserker - Unleashed, with what seems like a conclusion that opens up a new existence for the two friends.

Lemire, despite the title, does not focus on the vision of an unstoppable warrior, but enhances the more fragile aspects of the human condition, he recounts the sufferings and the complacency, does not appeal to heroism but to the most authentic resignation, to despair. Berserker - Unleashed is a comic with a strong emotional identity, which scratches the reader's soul, thanks to the drawings of Mike Deodato Jr.

Deodato Jr. interprets Lemire's inventiveness , capturing the explosive ferocity of the barbarian in the most pugnacious moments, where there is no lack of a certain affinity to the work of Frank Frazetta and Barry Windsor-Smith, but dedicating himself with particular delicacy to the most intimate moments of the experience of the two protagonists. The abundance of splash pages refers to the most dynamic moments, which seem to appeal to a classic taste of genre literature, but find a happy dynamic of gestural communication between the two characters, capturing their most suggestive traits.

The use of a fragmentation of the tables has its own curious functionality, which is not always managed wisely by Deodato, who in some moments also shows a poorly illuminated management of the portrait of the characters' faces, shortcomings which, fortunately, are well diluted to the interior of an authorial proof that does not fail to give the right visual grammar to the story of Lemire, thanks to the colors of Frank Martin. Martin does not fail to identify the right color, with a palette that passes continuously from the most exotic hues of the fantasy world to an almost crepuscular identity for the part set in our world.

BAO Publishing does justice to this exciting story presenting to the Italian public Berserker - Unleashed in a hardcover volume of the right size (17 × 26), which allows you to better show the work of Deodato Jr. Accompanied by a gallery of variant covers created by famous names in the world of comics, like Mike Mignola, and a small but exciting backstage with some sketches by Deodato Jr and Lemire's first ideas on the spirit of the two dramatic characters.

Powered by Blogger.