I love Japanese folklore and horror. I also love the wise dogs of Beasts of Burden – dogs that use witchcraft to protect the world. Normally, they’re protecting their neighborhood, but we’re getting a flashback to World War II during which a dog (Emrys) and his master have arrived in occupied Japan, where decapitations have been occurring.
But this isn’t just a horror story, this is a buddy story. Emrys, a shaggy dog, has teamed up with a newbie, Mullins, who I think is a Jack Russell Terrier. (I’m so bad with dog breeds.) Anyway, they’ve set off on their own through the wilderness of Japan in search of what could be behind these goings on. In a way very much like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, creatures of myth litter this universe, but also the back and forth between our two dog heroes is what makes this an immensely enjoyable read.
Benjamin Dewey’s artwork, especially in capturing the ever-excitable Mullins, made me laugh more than once.
Here’s the thing: Dogs are great. It’s easy to be immediately on their side, because we grow up thinking that dogs are going to be there for us in every situation. So, to see dogs cast fire spells to thrash on demons fills me with so much joy. I can’t think of a reason not to like the Beasts of Burden series, and this chapter in the continuing stories of our wise dogs is top notch.
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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