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Berserk Deluxe Edition 1 Main

"Berserk: Deluxe Edition – Volume 1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

article-cover

Written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura
Translated by Jason DeAngelis
2019, 696 Pages
Graphic novel released on February 27th, 2019

Review:

Guts, the mysterious warrior with a metal hand and a giant blade, walks through the countryside slaying every demon he sees. Since he's branded with a supernatural mark that acts like a magnet for these otherworldly creatures, he's rather busy. Saving innocents is a distant secondary goal. If they get in the way, so be it. Guts is after a big bad and he's not going to let anything, even death, stand in his way.

Since I grew up in the '90s, I went through a phase where I was watching tons of anime. (Thanks Toonami!) Berserk was a show that was on my radar, but I never actually watched. Now, years later, I was able to read through the first three volumes of the manga the show is based on in one deluxe edition hardcover from Dark Horse Comics. It was most definitely worth the wait.

Guts is a fascinating character. There are times you love to hate him because he's a total jerk, but there's something about him that really catches your attention. He's like an eastern version of John Constantine. Part of this comes through in his design. Creator Kentaro Miura makes Guts look so friggin' badass. If Lancelot is the noble goody two shoes knight, Guts is the one your parents warned you about.

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There's a mystery surrounding Guts too. How did he lose his hand? When did he get the cool metal one? Why does he use that giant sword instead of a normal one? What's up with the brand? These questions just serve to further capture our imagination. I have to find out what his deal is. That's what kept me going through this massive tome. It's riveting stuff.

It helps that Miura's artwork is top notch. Guts often has an uncaring look, yet there's a twinkle in his eye. The only time he really shows any emotion is when he's angry and in the heat of combat. His face contorts, pushing through the pain to unleash every possible attack he can on his opponent.

His enemies are varied and each one is more terrifying than the last. A major one in this collection is a big worm monster that seems to grow the more Guts fights it. Tentacles swirl out from its body to whip and slash at the warrior, all the while it taunts him from its not-quite-human face.

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Huge chunks of Berserk is spent with combat and each sequence is unique. This is most definitely a page-turner of a book that you can read at a nice pace, but you'll want to take some time to soak in all the awesome imagery.

The one thing I just don’t get with Berserk is the small cherubic fairy that follows Guts around. The little guy is buck naked, although asexual, so his tiny junk isn't flopping around everywhere. He's often shown without the same level of detail as the rest of the book, so he's like a cartoon living in this world. He'll often pop in for some comic relief, mostly by Guts treated him like garbage. I get why someone like this was included as it helps to humanize Guts a bit, but it can be a bit much some times.

Berserk is a dark fantasy manga chock full of action like no other. The monsters are terrifying and worth the price of admission alone. What stands out is the mysterious figure at the center of all this. I cannot wait to see how his story unfolds. This collection ends at a weird spot, with the first chapter of an origin story of sorts. Since I have to find out where this goes (and where Guts comes from), I most definitely have to check out the next book.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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