Comic Review: Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight TPB (Dark Horse Comics)

Dark Horse Comics brings you a story about a tale about the Dragon Knight who actually became an apostle before joining Griffith’s army in Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight. Ok, […]

Dark Horse Comics brings you a story about a tale about the Dragon Knight who actually became an apostle before joining Griffith’s army in Berserk: The Flame Dragon Knight.

Ok, so where were we? After a few stories beyond Berserk with the whole manga series, Kentaro Miura decided to have a story of one of Griffith’s foot soldiers. This is the story of the origins of Grunbeld the Dragon knight apostle, but this is before the story when the old band of the hawk is still fighting the hundred-year war with Midland’s support. But, no this is actually coming up because Grunbeld is fighting alongside and against the Tudor Empire. The novel is written by Makoto Fukami and originally created by Kentaro Miura. Makoto is one of the directors and screenwriters of Berserk anime adaptation in 2016. Even so, the story would be something that makes Grunbeld warrior status became legendary just before he became an apostle and joined Griffith’s army in the future. Again, SPOILERS WARNING, thank you very much.

The front cover shows a portrait of Grunbeld for giving such a social status of being a soldier. Someone should give him a gold medal for that. And he’s giving a piercing look while his armor is covered in the blood of those who opposed him or something, and it actually tells how he became a legendary warrior and an apostle. I can’t say, but I spent a bit of time reading this novel, but somehow the story shows some grueling experience while Grunbeld is fighting against the Tudor Empire. The story actually tells nothing more than a fairy tale about a beautiful maiden who sacrificed her life to halt the tyranny of the brutal dragon. But this isn’t how it works because the beauty is no exception to the rules of this world. It’s a dark fantasy world that was ruled by violence and war, one that contains the will of the gods or something. The story starts when General Kristen of the Grand Dukedom of Grant arrives at the guard tower, which is probably is a dungeon filled with corpses and shit. Apparently, the three victims that were thrown in the tower were beautiful women who weren’t worthless and some of the other prisoners left to rot, after he’d gone to investigate and choose a knight to put in charge.

Meanwhile, at a land of the Fire Dragon’s Lair, there is a man who became a commander of that land which is Grundbeld and it’s his tenth year being there, his backstory tells that his mother was killed by Tudor soldiers and he could remember that scene since it was yesterday. The tower is nothing like the Guard tower because the interior looks like a fortress filled with a heavy defense system, and somehow the whole land is at the top of the volcano. His family is like but a faded memory because he never met his own father before and his mother came from a complicated family in which they became fugitives. During his experience, he fought so many soldiers from time to time, but by the time when he’s 14, he’s grown taller than a normal male adult, almost the same size of Guts in his 20s. Speaking of, the way that Grunbeld fights is mostly matches Guts’ strength with his great sword during his battles with the hawk and being the black swordsman, so there’s no telling that humans have so many limits the reach that kind of level. Unlike apostles, their strength is just beyond any human, but Guts topples against them in his fighting days.

So, when Grunbeld collapses himself, some people threw him outside of the village that leads to a magical forest where he met a blind young girl named Benedikte who found him lying there and thinking that he’s a real fire dragon, depending on the looks and the smell. Nowadays, there are some forests that lie some secrets, if you’ve watched one of the Disney movies or Avatar The Last Airbender where Toph was introduced on book 2, but this is another different story because forest maidens tend to have a natural thing for animals, even dragons, and magic. And then when Grunbeld made it back home, the town was under attack by the Tudor empire who actually tried to oppose them, they killed mostly everyone at the village, and raped Grunbeld’s mother. After that Grunbeld was held in his lonely cell at Tudor, thinking about his murdered mother as he listens to the cry of the children calling out for help from the other cells at the jail tower and let me tell you, it’s really sadistic because the Tudor were ruthless to treat the children like that. And afterward, he is being watched by two children that were being assigned by Tudor.

Speaking off, right off the Berserk story when Casca is sharing Guts her story and experience being with the Hawks, she mentions that the Tudor Empire is keeping children as prisoners and slaves, even though they kept as prisoners or slaves. However, in this story, the Tudor empire was ruthless to capture these poor children and keep them as their pets, much more like the vampires from Castlevania that one of the female vampires were keeping a human forge master in custody and force him to make monsters for her army. So anyway, the children were being used as their toys, being educated, even one of them was forced to fight. But on this story, one of the children was being asked to keep an eye on Grunbeld. One of them is the son of the Grand Duchy of Grant named Edvard, and the daughter of the House of Johansen named Sigur. They treated him to health and spent the rest of the days together with Grunbeld, training and such, right until he going to face off a mock fight against Abecassis, the same captain who raped and murdered his mother. Supposedly the captain was a veteran of the battle and as big as Grunbeld was at his age. It’s obvious that he’s facing one of the commanding officers who violated and killed a woman, but does Grunbeld shows his anger? Maybe he’s got his angst full for that guy, or is he pissed that hard that the thought just stabbed in the back. His strength is out of this world and he’s instantly beating the captain in a wooden sword fight until he broke the back of the captain’s head. Somehow, everyone has their hate against Abecassis because he abuses the weak, and almost as ruthless as the rapist and the gayest emperor of Tudor, the big-mouthed Adon, and the big cueball Boscogn.

Nowadays, the children fought some terrifying battles just like one of the gladiators facing one of the exotic beasts on the arena. The soldiers acknowledge Grunbeld’s strength and thought to have him on the battlefield. Later, under such coincidence, Grunbeld met Bendikte again, grown and dressed up like a real maiden. Apparently, she was performing a dance of offering, and somehow she’s more like a princess than any other girl that ever met. Don’t know the traits of that character but Bendikte spends so much time at the forest, interacting with animals, but she has some special powers, although she’s an innocent girl and at a young age, she’d just say whatever she’s feeling, like a lost puppy gazing its adorable eyes to another person. She’s happy to see Grunbeld again and all of that jazz.

Grunbeld fought so many battles over ten years alongside Tudor, however, he didn’t give up his grudge against the Tudor empire. You think that it’s that simple that after all those years, he grew much taller and stronger to take down his enemies with his army? He even got promoted once to become the Fire Dragon’s Lair as if he actually gained his legendary warrior status. But no, what really happened was that there was a fateful battle against Edvard who betrayed Grunbeld and the others, for what? To raise his rank by killing Grunbeld. Most of his allies were killed, Grunbeld protects Benedikte with his life, but then Benedikte was collapsed and told him to look for the hawk of light. But what’s really strange is that Grunbeld possesses a Behelit, except he had it tied with his war hammer, but seriously what’s it doing there in the first place?

By any under circumstances, Grunbeld was taken to the Godhand’s world, the same place where Griffith sacrificed his own allies for power. As for that result, he sacrificed Benedikte and Sigur for power and transformed into a fire dragon to annihilate the whole army. And after that battle, he decides to search for the hawk of light and join him. The story seems to tell the whole difference of how Grunbeld spent his whole life fighting until one of his friends stabbed in the back for something. There are some few illustrations that Kentaro Miura drew which is giving so much image to the original manga version, but it’s a great story to tell about Grunbeld’s background as a warrior. Either way, this is the prologue just before Guts became the black swordsman. If you rather want to have this for your collection to know about one of the character’s background story, then this is for you.

About Kevin Bermeo

I'm a New Yorker Artist, and I traveled a lot. I enjoy making comics, illustrations, paintings, and digital art. Besides drawing, I'm also a writer, I used to be a Gamer, and I love adventures, food, and dragons.