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August 24, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch

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Written by: Billy
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Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch (one-shot)
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Evan Dorkin
Artist: Jill Thompson

A few short weeks ago, I did a character spotlight on Beasts of Burden. You know, the Eisner award winning book (2010) by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, featuring a neighborhood group of dogs and cats that must fight off supernatural threats that people just can’t see coming! Well, they’re back again in Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch, a one-shot containing three great stories.

The first story, “Food Run,” shows the team of Orphan (the orange cat) and Rex (the German Shepherd? [Editor’s note: Doberman, maybe]), as they set a trap for the local goblin that’s been terrorizing and eating the chickens. They surprise the goblin, but he leads them into the forest where he has the advantage!

The next installment is called “Story Time.” It shows a few of the local animals as they sit and listen to one of the community elders tell them a story from the dark ages, about a dog and his owner. He tells them about how this dog and owner share a special bond, and how it got them through a war, and then they had a battle with a sorcerer and a basilisk!

The last tale, “The View from the Hill,” shows the gang heading out to a field where they encounter a group of sheep. At first, the sheep seem lost and unguarded, but a vicious dog jumps out of nowhere to protect his flock. Once he realizes that the gang is no threat, he scouts on ahead. At this point, Jack starts to act like he’s ill, and passes out. His friends soon find out why, and also a secret that the sheep have been hiding from their protector!

Anyone that’s read Beasts of Burden will absolutely love these stories. If you haven’t picked up any of these books yet, you’re really doing a disservice to yourself and the comic book world. This is one of those titles that slips under the radar for some reason, but certainly is well written, and all the praise for that goes to Dorkin.

Jill Thompson is the perfect partner for Dorkin’s writing. She draws and colors these characters perfectly, and any artist will tell you that drawing animals is extremely tough. She makes it look easy, too, and panel after panel, you see nothing but great work from her. The main characters are cool, but she even does a great with the goblin, the basilisk, and the dead sheep! Do yourself a favor and grab some Beasts of Burden today! Rating 4.5/5

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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