Two creators at the top of their game come together for an urban take on the fantasy series. A merciless sword and sorcery warrior finds himself blasted through a wormhole to a modern day metropolis where he must protect those around him from an evil wizard determined to send him to hell.
Jeff Lemire has a strong pedigree in comics. Both his creator owned projects and work with Marvel and DC have been some of the highlights of the past decade. And for his latest project, he’s teamed up with quite the collaborator. Mike Deodato Jr for the past 24 years has been one of Marvel’s flagship artists having worked on almost every major Marvel series imaginable including Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Avengers, Thor, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and many more. Last year, he made the decision to move on from Marvel and dip his foot into the world of creator owned comics which has resulted in his debut creator owned title – Berserker Unbound.
At first glance, there are many classic elements of fantasy comics on display, with the Mongrel King being a main character in the mold of Robert E. Howard’s Conan with a penchant for bloody battle and broody introspection. However, it soon evolves into something more when the king meets his modern-day companion Joe Cobb. There is a marked shift from the strict action/revenge approach of the narrative as it steers more into the buddy/fish out of water genre. This results in the highpoint of the series as Joe slowly bonds with the king after overcoming their frustrations with each other and finding some common ground – despite their different languages – with the king reeling at the slaughter of his family and fighting with the shame he feels at fleeing from the aftermath, and Joe struggling to deal with the loneliness that being homeless brings.
On the art front, Deodato Jr turns in some of his best work yet. Insanely detailed and bold, every sequence has a bold quality and takes full advantage of his strong artistic range. Whether it’s the bloody aftermath of the slaughter of the king’s family and people, the king violently clashing with the demon king’s minions or the quieter moments of contemplation that Joe and the king share, they all leave a massive impact and never once seem out of place. It’s easy to see why Deodato Jr has been valued highly by Marvel for such a lengthy period.
This is an excellent fantasy series that will appeal to fans of both Lemire and Deodato’s previous work and fantasy comics in the vein of Conan. Additionally, it goes beyond the typical fantasy tropes as it delves into dealing with loss and unlikely comradeship, making it perfect for anyone looking for a new twist on the genre.
9781506713373 – H/B – £21.99