Comic Review: Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Emrys, the elder leader of the canine supernatural team known as the Wise Dogs, tells a tale about a previous case that he and his then human companion Jonathan Hope […]

Emrys, the elder leader of the canine supernatural team known as the Wise Dogs, tells a tale about a previous case that he and his then human companion Jonathan Hope investigated during the late 40s.

A supernatural curse has been reviving the dead, turning them into disembodied creatures that plague the streets of occupied Japan. Emrys and his team of supernatural investigators aim to find the source of this supernatural plague before it consumes all life.

As someone who has never read the previous series prior, it’s safe to say that reading this first issue has me convinced that I should change that. Evan Dorkin has been writing the previous entries of this series for some time now, and with Sarah Dyer also co-writing this series, they do a great job at making the characters entertaining and the story engaging. The main protagonist is Emrys, an old English sheepdog that is the elderly statesmen of the Wise Dogs group.

Emrys is intelligent, knowledgeable, and noble, and he has all of these great qualities that make him interesting to follow as a protagonist that happens to be a dog. Some of my fave moments in this book is his relationship with his companion, Johnathan Hope. Dorkin and Dyer do an excellent job at displaying the kind of trust and bond between Emrys and Hope as a human/canine pair, and their interactions with others are entertaining to read.

Benjamin Dewey handles the art and colorwork. While his layouts are great, I think what made his work stand out more is his colorwork. Dewey provides the linework with a painterly aesthetic that is beautiful to look at. His layouts provide enough space for the colors to compliment the tone of the book, visually complimenting the narrative as a mystery, horror, adventure comic of its kind should have.

The lettering by Nate Piekos is well placed, never getting in the way of the art, allowing for both to work in tandem in service of the book. It’s often refreshing to find a book such as this that has the right balance of humor, horror, mystery, and adventure all rolled up into one book. If you’re into stories involving pets, Hellboy, or John Carpenter’s The Thing, then you’ll definitely enjoy this book. I recommend adding this to your pull list and I look forward to the next issue.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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