Berserk Vol. #21 (Mania.com)

By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008
Release Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2008



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kentaro Miura
Translated by:Duane Johnson
Adapted by:Duane Johnson

What They Say
Guts, the feared Black Swordsman, is on the rampage - and it's personal. Mozgus, the malefic master Inquisitor of the Holy See, in his murderous campaign against heretics, has captured Guts' former lover Casca and has her at the ready to be burned at the stake in the Tower of Conviction, little knowing that Casca's demonic Mark of Sacrifice is drawing hideous dark powers to the Tower. It'll take everything Guts has and more to defeat Mozgus - who is much, much more than a man - and even if he can, will he be able to save Casca from the hordes of Hell amidst the inquisitor's disintegrating citadel?

The Review
They say it's always darkest before the dawn, but with what Guts and his group of unlikely allies have to face, it's looking like they're not going to live to see that dawn. Father Mozgus in his angelic form implores the panicked masses to burn Casca before the surrounding dark forces devour them all, and the maddened mob is happy to comply. Guts is cut off, unable to get to her in time.

When he finally reaches Mozgus at the top of the tower, their battle is watched eagerly by all - Guts' allies, who know that his victory is the only way they'll survive, and by the mob, who sees their salvation in the battle between the "angelic" Father and the "demonic" Black Swordsman. With the dark forces being drawn to Guts, who's to say they're wrong? As Guts struggles to defeat Mozgus and get through his seemingly impenetrable armor of faith, the darkness draws ever closer.

When the power holding the dark forces back fails, the panicked masses of refugees flees for the dubious safety of the tower - dubious, because the tower itself has its share of monsters inside. Fear takes root, and the gate to the tower is closed, leaving the hordes still outside to face the monsters without even the comfort of walls around them. Through sheer will and determination, Guts struggles against death as he always does and inspires his companions to do the same, forcing some of them to reexamine the very core of their beliefs.

Dawn finally comes, but there's barely enough time to catch their breath when a new enemy arrives, searching for a mysterious person seen by their oracle. As the Conviction Arc draws to a close, more than one familiar face from the past reappears.

It's hard to say much about Berserk without using the phrases "epic," "awesome," and "unspeakably badass" entirely too many times. This is manga in it's rawest form, truly showing off the real strengths of the graphic medium to tell a story that couldn't be told any other way. This arc has been my favorite since the arrival of the God Hand, and with the way it concluded, I can't help but think that the next is going to be even better. Highly recommended.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Dark Horse
MSRP: 13.95
Pages: 248
ISBN: 978-1593077464
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Berserk