Berserker Rage is most commonly associated with Vikings, attributed to warriors known as berserkers, who were able to fight in a virtually uncontrollable trance-like fury. Berserkers are attested to in numerous sources of Old Norse literature. Also known as the Úlfhéðnar, berserkers were said to wear the pelt of a wolf when they entered battle, usually without any other form of armor to protect themselves, and "were mad as hounds or wolves." Berserkers were sometimes even described as the Norse god Odin's special warriors. Berserkers are known for their unmatched fury in battle, their inhuman strength, and their tendency to be able to continue fighting for an extended period of time even with potentially fatal wounds.
Theories about what caused this berserker rage vary, and include anything ranging from ingesting hallucinogenic plants or drugs, ingesting massive amounts of alcohol, some form of self-induced hysteria, or merely some form of mental illness or genetic abnormality.
Berserkers rages are quite commonly featured in comics, most often when a lone warrior finds themselves faced with insurmountable odds and taps into this hidden reserve of untapped rage and power. Marvel's Wolverine is perhaps one of the most commonly known berserkers.
Variations in Comics
Berserker Rages can have any number of causes in comics.
- Genetic: Certain beings like Wolverine simply have a natural affinity for slipping into a berserker rage. Certain fictional races, like Predators and Krogan are also known for their berserker tendencies and at their cases is accredited to a kind of augmented adrenal gland that can send them into this state.
- Chemical: Various forms of drugs in comics can bring about bouts of rage like a berserker, such as Bane's Venom or X-23's Trigger Scent.
- Magical: Berserker rages are at times attributed to magical enchantments, although the are typically involved with curses above all else. Certain interpretations of Orcs have their berserker tendencies attributed to a magical curse upon their race.
- Last Stand: In rare cases, an average human seems to even be able to slip into an uncontrollable rage when faced with imminent death as a desperate bid for survival. This is more commonly termed as "hysterical strength" however and is rarely as extreme and uncontrollable as a true berserker rage.