It has never been easier for me to pick my favorite title for the week. And this week’s comics included a sword fighting Edgar Allen Poe. I mean, dang!
Yet, even a historical literary giant foiling evil plots cannot compete with the blinding giddiness printed on the pages of Beasts of Burden #2.
Let me set the stage for you for this title. OK. Imagine there are talking dogs. Instant win, am I right? No, not yet. Now imagine they are all wizards as well.
Wait! No, don’t stop reading! I can prove this title is wonderful. I have facts and numbers. Manila folders filled with flowcharts are tucked under my arm. We can use science to prove it’s quality! Or invent a new science if we must! Let’s grab God by the scruff of his neck and make him make this work!!
This title is amazing. I swear that the wizard-dog concept is not silly, it’s beautiful. It’s flipping gorgeous, people.
Characters feel distinct, each with their own voice and dynamic. I also should add, as a former pug owner I do believe the writing of Evan Dorkin perfectly captures the breed. (Pug: a bossy, overconfident jerk who you love.)
Pug writing aside, the plot is so cheesy and expertly unnerving. Going to places I didn’t expect it to while all the characters react in honest ways, I was engrossed the whole time. It hit more emotional notes in more mature ways than I expected from this title. Even little off handed comments made by the dogs are loaded with context.
The faces on the animals are all expressive without being cartoony to the credit of Jill Thompson’s water colors. There’s one panel of a dog’s face that dang near breaks my heart. It’s a page after one that cracks me up every time. Then the last page comes and it is horrible/sweet/pathetic/adorable/creepy. The art gets stuff done.
The plot is pretty dark for a premise that sounds kid friendly. There’s some death. There’s some blood. And because it is coming from a world of suburban neighborhoods and family pets it oddly carries the weight of reality to it. More so than an issue of The Punisher, at least.
Only one thing keeps me from loving this title forever and ever, and that is the fact that it is a mini-series. It’s going to end. But, there are several short stories already released to be collected in a hardcover later this year. So, hopefully (but doubtfully) that will be enough for me.
Beasts of Burdens, with all its dog-and-cat-paranormal-mystery-solving-wizardry has fed a craving I didn’t know I had. Now though, I’m starving for it.