Monday, September 20, 2021

Review: Barb the Last Berzerker by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson

It's graphic novel time! My own kids are huge fans of graphic novels (as am I). So, I try to make sure to include, at least one of these every month. Today's review grabbed my attention not only because of the very active cover, but the blurb. "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power meets Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man..." Seriously, how could I not want to read this one?

Plus, the title got me thinking and the term 'berzerker'. Of course, I realize that berzerk is crazy and that it implies, in this case, a fighter, but I wondered exactly what the term means (dictionary time!) just out of curiosity.  This is what I found: 'an ancient Norse warrior who fought in a wild frenzy'. So, there you go.

Book 1
by Dan Abdo
and Jason Patterson
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
256 pages
ages 8 to 12


She-Ra and the Princesses of Power meets Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man in this sidesplitting graphic novel about a young Berzerker who has to rescue her fellow warriors from the evil villain Witch Head before he destroys the world!

Barb is a Berzerker, one of a group of warriors sworn to protect the land of Bailiwick from the scourge of monsters that plagues it. But the fearsome crew seem to have met their match in the nefarious Witch Head. Using power from his magical sword, he tricked the Zerks and took them captive. Only Barb was able to escape—and she took Witch Head’s Shadow Blade with her.

Now it’s up to Barb to free her fellow warriors so they can stop Witch Head from taking over Bailiwick. On the way, she’ll battle vampire goat fiends, snot goblins, and a giant with serious foot odor issues (but don’t mention that to him—he’s very sensitive about it). Luckily, she’s got her best friend, Porkchop the yeti, to help her.

But the power of the Shadow Blade has a mind of its own, and the deeper Barb gets into her quest, the harder it is to keep the blade’s awesome power under control.



Furious action and humor collide in super-fun adventure with a heroine full of spunk and determination.

Barb is a Berzerker, and the smallest one, who always is told to stay behind when the rest of the Berzerkers attack the monsters. When they attack an especially evil monster, Barb doesn't listen to orders, but this time, it's good since the rest of the Berzerker's are taken captive. Barb manages to escape with the sword, and now, it's up to her to find the Northern Berzerkers, bring them back to free her group.

This is a fast-paced tale, packed with adventure, quirky moments, monsters, unexpected surprises, a powerful sword, and friendship. Barb might be small, but she has the heart of a true Berzerker...actually, even a bigger one than that. She's brave, kind, and never bows from a fight which needs to be fought. And yet, she's horribly kind to anyone and everyone, who needs it. In other words, she is an awesome heroine, who simply loves to fight, too.

There are tons of fun fight scenes...the kind with the 'Whoosh', 'Bang' and such. Monsters need to fear when she appears with her sword, but yet, there's never a shortage on heart. This book is as much about friendship, standing up for those who need help, standing to your own mistakes, and judging creatures for who they are and not what they are. So, there are tons of good messages in here too. 

The illustrations are bright and bold and full of power. It's fun to go through each scene and watch Barb's tales unfold. The text is great for the intended audience and balances nicely with the illustrations.
It's just fun to read as tension and laughs combine into a fury of fun. Luckily, this is only the beginning of Barb's adventures, too.

And here they are...

For the past ten years, award-winning duo Dan & Jason have developed numersous animated campaigns, network TV and webseries, and critically acclaimed commercial work. Their extensive portfolio, including multiple comedic spots in both the UUS and UK, has garnered them industry wide recognition, while their humorous sensibility and diverse skill set has landed them jobs for top global brands.

Dan & Jason have set up properties at Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, and Nickelodeon as well as a feature animated film through Paramount Pictures The well-versed storytellers have developed original content for a wide variety of platforms, including print (Nickelodeon Comics, The  New Yorker), theater (Pilobolus) and  digital.