Dark Horse has released a brand new series titled Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. As somewhat of a Lovecraft fan, I read the word “Eldritch” and yelled “yippee!” Are you meaning to tell me there’s a chance that this series will feature themes and concepts inspired by the works H.P. Lovecraft? Well, after reading the very first issue, I can confidently report that the answer is…maybe?
Beasts of Burden exists in a world with talking animals. Now, before you lose your mind over this already bananas premise, get this: They also have superpowers. That’s two weird things! It’s like a little, funny dog-hat on another little funny dog-hat. The book follows a group of dogs who have formed something of a secret society and together use their powers to help protect other animals. Conceptually, one might be reminded of the 2001 film disaster, Cats and Dogs, but, in tone and content, you will walk away with vibes more akin to Grant Morrison’s triumphant WE3.
In the cold open, we see that everything is on fire. A brave dog, Lundy, rescues a salamander who has been snagged by a bear trap. He then returns home to commiserate with his fellow team of justice dogs. This sequence is stunning and showcases exactly where this book really shines: the art department. Benjamin Dewey should be celebrated for his commitment to speed of motion. When these puppies run, they run fast…
Dewey is also a master of expressive animal faces. Look at this sad deer or this surprised dog…
I am interested to see where this story is going. I love how the concept is being handled. Evan Dorkin is playing with tone in a way that is satisfying, even if you don’t completely understand the world just yet. It is almost as if his superpower is keeping me engaged, though hundreds of questions loom in the back of my mind. I have a superpower of my own, though, which is to powerfully “wink” and “nudge” one until promises of Lovecraftian connections are fulfilled.
Creative Team: Evan Dorkin (writer), Benjamin Dewey (art)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Click here to purchase.