feature Comic book review - The Berg
A tale of a shape shifting fatberg, a sharp social satire written smartly, drawn and lettered expertly and laced with snazzy, sharp dialogue, The Berg is a brilliant entry in the horror creature feature genre.
Writing: Sarah Peploe & Fraser Campbell
Art: Gavin Mitchell
Letter: Colin Bell
Age Rating: 18+
Where to get it: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/frasercampbell/the-berg-1
A team of sanitation workers descend into the London sewers to clear the biggest fatberg the city has ever known. But soon after embarking on their mucky mission, strange things start to happen. Their comms fail. The power dies. They start hearing things, seeing things. And, as they wade on through the dirt and the darkness, the crew soon become gripped by a gathering sense of foreboding. As if they are being watched. Hunted. The Fatberg. It couldn’t be…alive, could it?
Story & Characters
The story of Berg starts in a crowded London restaurant where we show a snapshot of the current state of society, through some really funny, honest dialogue. Lettering in the bottom panels of the first page is nothing short of genius. It portrays a chaotic, loud kitchen very well. After a brief introduction, the story moves to the sanitation workers trying to get into the severs to clean the biggest fatberg the city has ever seen. The story shuffles between the control room and the sewers. Without going into spoilers, the story turns into a complete horror story from there full of mystery and tension. What the Berg does to them brings in some moments of vivid nightmares.
The characters of sanitation workers are introduced quite smartly via what’s on their phone screens. Andi and the workers care deeply about each other and their jobs, while Douglas is a typical management guy who’s a hard knuckle to deal with. Cliff is the wise one, who lays the a straight up critique of the system and current state of the world. Jaiden, Martin and Palmer are all simple folk who want nothing more than finish their hard days work and go home, totally unaware of the horror that awaits them. I absolutely loved the way Andi and Gemma are outlined and would love to see more of them in the future issues.
Art & Inspiration
The art style is bold, pulpy, kinetic, grungy and quite in sync with the tone of the narrative. The Berg itself is reminiscent of The Blob, in both it’s form, colour and it’s powers. What I guess it represents, is a creature that rises from the excess and filth of human existence. "What Lies Beneth" as one of the panels say. The world and colour palette are decidedly grimy, greasy and dirty. Sewage tunnel’s layout, back and forth with the control room adds an extra layer of claustrophobia and tension. The Berg, when our characters encounter it, is extremely nightmarish yet stunning. I was in the awe of beauty of some of these full page spreads and panels.
As the creators say, the most obvious inspirations are The Blob, The Thing, Alien, Tremors, and a lot more. However, the way story’s setup is wholly unique.
The Berg is brilliantly written, beautifully drawn, smartly lettered with dialogue sharp as a shrapnel. If you’re a fan of creature-feature horror stories you will absolutely love The Berg. It is haunting, beautiful and absolutely worthy of being on your shelf! Don’t give this one a miss.