By Jarred A. Luján — So, in Berserker Unbound #1, we of course met the main character of this comic — the very buff and very angry, Mongrel King, a Conan homage if ever there was one. Then we proceeded to watch him discover and deal with the slaughter of his family, accomplishing the latter via a pretty awesome rampage...before being teleported to the future, which is actually our present but you get the gist. It was a very action packed, emotionally intense issue, and it was a ton of fun to read. This week’s Berserker Unbound #2 doesn’t have quite the same level of intensity that the debut did, but it is still a pretty fun read.
The thing about this issue is that writer Jeff Lemire and artist Mike Deodato, Jr. are well aware of the inherent complexities that come with teleporting a giant murderous barbarian to the future. There are going to be some difficulties with the language, with understanding of our current society, and with ultimately having him confront a steady string of things, people, and ideas that he just doesn’t understand. This issue takes us through much of that, and it’s pretty compelling to watch our Mongrel King attempt to adjust to and navigate his surroundings, doing things like asking where the mead is at a charitable cafeteria for folks who are having some troubles.
One of the things I pointed out in my last issue was my hope that the humor contained in the last few pages continued onward through this book — and that wish was granted. The issue is super funny, playing off the language barriers, culture shock, and the way Mongrel King interprets what’s happening. There’s just a ton of entertainment value packed into the issue.
We also get to learn a little bit more about Joe Cobb, a character introduced towards the end of the last issue. Lemire handles Cobb well, showing us that there’s more to him than just the hardened persona he’s developed as a person on the streets. I’m really hoping Cobb sticks around, because the dynamic/relationship between him and the Mongrel King was at the heart of this second issue.
While I did miss the big sequences of issue #1, Berserker Unbound #2 makes smart decisions for the story, rooting itself in a very interesting type of logical sense. It devotes itself to character building, which is something that I can definitely appreciate after a fast-paced first issue. A slow paced, but ridiculously funny, issue here made me feel more invested in both Joe Cobb and the Mongrel King, especially in how their relationship will develop going forward.
Overall: Berserker Unbound #2 is a sophomore issue that succeeds by fueling the mystery of how the Mongrel King will resolve his problem, chugging steadily along with its characters. 7.5/10
Berserker Unbound #2
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.
Colorist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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Jarred A. Luján makes comics, studies existential philosophy, and listens to hip-hop too loudly. For bad jokes and dog pictures, you can follow him on Twitter.