Story: Evan Dorkin
Art: Benjamin Dewey
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
What They Say:
The first feline member of the Wise Dog Society, the Orphan, takes on his first cat-only investigation, searching through the sewer tunnels for a missing, long-thought-dead witch cat. Accompanied by a tough stray, the Getaway Kid, Orphan’s trek into the wet, slime, and filth will bring him more trouble than his Wise Dog hocus-pocus can protect him from and even if he finds the witch who’s been haunting his dreams, they’ll all still have to escape alive from all the dark horrors that lurk underground.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I’ve felt like I’ve been missing some key material to understanding this world in previous issues, which stems from not knowing/reading the previous series, Beasts of Burden has still been a very fun book. Evan Dorkin may be working something a little more verbose than needed at times and the plot is straightforward but it’s an engaging work with what it’s trying to do. Benjamin Dewey is turning in some gorgeous pages throughout and that continues on here where the painted style and color design just gives it an incredible richness and detail that works for this book in a great way. There’s such a naturalistic look about it with the color palette alone that you really want to just trace through the details.
With this being the penultimate installment of the series, the Wise Dogs are now getting a better handle of what’s going on at the farm they’re at. With Tommy having managed to hide out he’s able to fill them in on what happened and who is behind much of what’s going on. Discovering that there’s a group of upwards of thirty men up on the mountain that he calls warlocks that use magic in addition to guns makes them pretty dangerous. Understanding that they’re trying to wake something dark and dangerous down in the mine there and that they had snookered the farmers for some time in getting some aid from them shows it’s not something that your average person would want roaming the world. These men have set up some solid defenses up there as well, which is why Tommy makes it clear that he has to go along to help – and because he doesn’t want to be on his own out here.
With Tommy coming along, the journey up the mountain has some mild montage moments and a good look at the kinds of creatures the warlocks are employing and the dangers to be had in trying to get to them. Tommy is certainly a help and we get an even better handle on the Wise Dogs and what they can handle. I admittedly like how Tommy is presented here which makes his betrayal all the sweeter to watch in a way as we see the truth of what he is. That we get a good look at a number of the bad guys at this point is welcome and it does seem like they hold all the cards. Dorkin puts this all together well with the pace of how it unfolds, especially with the ruse being figured out very early on and Tommy being watched the whole time, while Dewey makes it feel very tense and engaging the higher up we go and the creatures we see along the way.
I continue to really enjoy this series with what it offers in an intriguing world, characters that have a whole lot of character to them, and some absolutely gorgeous pages. I’m getting a better handle on the world as the series goes on but the main story in this run is pretty engaging and interesting, making taking a chance on it very worthwhile. I like what Dorkin’s putting together here and while Dewey’s artwork is the main draw for me the combination of the two makes this a pretty good run. This is a world worth exploring more and hopefully the next issue, while concluding this arc, is open-ended enough for more to come as I want to see a lot more of it.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 24th, 2018