Beasts of Burden brings me great joy, and Occupied Territory is tickling the release of the same endorphins that the first handful of volumes did. This is a world in which animals use magic, in this case pooches (a.k.a. doggos) – man’s best friend. Here, they are known as Wise Dogs. What kid who owned a dog didn’t think their pet was magical? I certainly did. These good pups protect their neighborhood, but after the harrowing events of the last story, they’re taking a little down time and listening to a story from one of the dogs that’s eternal: Emrys, a shaggy-haired Wise Dog.
Flashback to … occupied Japan, just after World War II! His owner Captain Hall has brought Emrys to a base in Northern Japan to investigate some strange goings-on: some pretty gruesome murders. Emyrs goes on the hunt, meeting some new dog friends along the way.
In a way that Mike Mignola’s Hellboy does, Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, and team are exploring different mythologies – horrors from various cultures – and with this first issue, we get a taste of some Japanese mythos!
There is so much heart in Dorkin’s Beasts of Burden. These dogs are so pure of intent, so willing to do what’s right, that it doesn’t take long to get on their side, and their personalities simply shine.
My initial reaction when I saw that Jill Thompson wasn’t working on this series was one of dismay, but that was blown away with the Southern California desert winds almost immediately. Benjamin Dewey doesn’t miss a beat in bringing these Wise Dogs and their adventures to full-blooded life. If you already love this series, you’ll love this new spinoff as much. If you’re a first-time reader, this is a wonderful entry point!
Creative Team: Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer (script), Benjamin Dewey (art), Nate Piekos of Blambot (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Chuck Howitt and Konner Knudsen (assistant editors), Sarah Terry and Kathleen Barnett (designers), Josie Christensen (digital art technician)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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