Dark Horse Comics
(w) Jeff Lemire (a) Mike Deodato Jr. (c) Frank Martin (l) Steve Wands
The first issue of Berserker Unbound didn’t go over so well with us here at Comics Bulletin (and here), but as a chap that likes to give stuff a second chance I went ahead and read Berserker Unbound #2. Although it does improve in some aspects, it’s barely an improvement to make it stand out from others.
Berserker Unbound #2 focuses the whole issue on Berserker and his new guide, the homeless Joe Cobb. The main problem with this issue is it feels like it goes absolutely nowhere, while barely furthering the plot it feels more akin to a filler issue. Jeff Lemire’s writing talent does shine through more so than it did previously, but not enough to make the issue stand out. The interactions between Cobb and Berserker are a highlight as they come off as fun and hilarious due to the fact neither can understand each other. This failure to communicate may be what separates Berserker Unbound from other fish-out-of-water stories, but that’s not much of a leg to stand on. Usually when someone is transported to another time they somehow already know the language, or easily learn it, but Lemire seems to not want to go this route, instead play the plot of miscommunication.
This story beat works quite well, while making the issue stronger than the first with how fun of a character Cobbs is, as he informs Berserker that he isn’t much of a talker, then proceeds to spend 12 panels doing just that. This dialogue-filled moment is hilarious while showing a great deal of Cobbs character, but is the only thing that stands out on the writing side. The art still carries the brunt of the story.
With Berserker Unbound #2 being solely a walk-and-talk, and thus being void of action, Mike Deodato Jr. plays around with his layouts to make these moments less of a bore. For the big panels portraying the duo talking Deodato Jr. cuts up the panels to give heavy dialogue instances a chance to breathe, thus helping the flow of the story in areas that could’ve been a chore. These instances of multiple panels through static pages are a smart use of page breakup, showing how skilled Deodato Jr. is with his craft, and how it was a smart idea to flex his art muscles in the Indie scene. Instead of reusing a panel of a face/head he’ll zoom in closer to who is talking, or out to break it up even more. Deodato Jr’s. art is great, but wouldn’t be nearly impactful if not for Frank Martin’s color.
Martin keeps the gritty colors from the first issue here for the city landscape, which makes perfect sense with how the story is told, as Berserker Unbound #2 is guided by Cobb who lives in the seedy homeless underbelly of the Metropolis. Martin’s colors breaths Deodato Jr’s. grimy underground passages dark and void of any happiness, which bodes quite well with the art, and dialogue in these moments. Instead of painting the city from up high Deodato Jr’s ground level art and Martin’s use of dark colors mirror that of Berserker’s world to the point he even mentions this likeness.
Memorable Quote: “Where the fuck is this?! Where the fuck am I!?” -Berserker
Although it’s still weird seeing fuck in this genre, this is honestly the best response when you are plucked out of time.
Side Note: I gave it two chances, but sadly won’t give it a third. Goodbye Berserker Unbound, and good luck.