In Review: Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #3

You'll never look at a dog the same way after reading this book, that's for sure.

The covers: There are two covers for fans to track down, but stay out of the woods! Miranda faces down three monstrous hogs whose eyes are colored orange to show that they may be supernatural swine. Behind the protagonist are thorny vines, showing she’s backed into a corner. Great Standard cover from Benjamin Dewey that’s an actual scene from this issue. I love when artists create an illustration that’s from the book and doesn’t spoil any part of the story. The Variant cover by Tyler Crook has the heroes walking through a dark forest toward the reader with a reflective serpentine stream behind them. Moody piece that hints the cast is venturing into uncharted and unfriendly territory. Overall grades: Both A 

The story: Saint Bernard Tommy is showing the wise dogs around his farm after the Warlocks came down from the mountain. The farmers traded animals with them, but “the men did stuff to change ’em so they could work the old mine.” The previous night these men and their monsters came to the farm and slaughtered all the sheep and farmers. Tommy reveals that these Warlocks “believe there’s somethin’ big an’ powerful asleep in the mine. They worship it. Sing to it. Kill animals. They wanna wake it up, coax it outside.” Lundy thanks the dog and says they’ll handle things, but the Saint Bernard wants to go with them to help them avoid traps along the way. The Scottie pulls Emrys and Miranda aside to have a quick conference. They return shortly with Lundy saying, “Right, then. Got some bad news for you, Tommy. We’re taking you with us.” Tommy looks surprised at their decision. “Oh. Okay. Great.” The dogs make their way through several obstacles with Tommy skittish. The reveal on 16 is outstanding and increases significantly on 17. The final five pages end with a monstrous battle, with the final panel of the book being ominous. Evan Dorkin has closed this issue with everyone in jeopardy. Outstanding. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: Benjamin Dewey starts this issue off with an idyllic view of a barn and silo at night in the woods. The dogs are then shown accompanying Tommy as he tells the tale of the Warlocks. The page ends with the characters looking through a broken blood covered white picket fence. A turn of the page shatters the serene visuals of the first page with the gory view of the massacred sheep. Miranda’s reaction to this violence is sad. The look on Lundy’s face at the top of Page 4 as he calls the other dogs is telling, and take note of how Tommy is watching them in the second panel because he can’t hear them. And how about how awesome Carver is in the next three panels in not even looking at the speaker, always being on guard. Tommy’s face at the bottom of the same page is priceless. The second through fifth panels on 5 contain no dialogue but have Dewey clearly communicate a character’s opinion. The first obstacle on 6 is sticky and gross, the second on 8 is a shocker, the third and fourth on 12 wonderfully annoying, and the sixth on 13 a nice return to last issue’s antagonists. The look that ends 14 and the one that starts 15 are outstanding. The dramatic irony in the fourth panel on the latter is great. The character that begins 16 is clearly an insane individual by his face and stance. The action on 18 – 22 is outstanding. The colors on these pages are killer with the oranges and yellows dominating. The last page is a definite WOW! moment. I thought the climax would be the first two panel on the last page, but the last one teases things are only getting started. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, spells, yells, whispered dialogue, and the three word tease for next issue are Blamot’s own Nate Piekos’s contributions to this issue. Page 20 has the greatest variety of lettering on a single page, comprised of sounds, yells, and spells. Each looks fantastic and shows that Piekos is master letterer. Overall grade: A

The final line: A major plot twist has the dogs in jeopardy, with one on her own. The story is great, with clues provided before a major reveal, rewarding careful readers. The visuals create the beautiful and the ghastly equally well. You’ll never look at a dog the same way after reading this book, that’s for sure. Overall grade: A

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To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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