Dogs and Monsters


Beasts of Burden #4

The ghost-hunting dogs and cats of Burden Hill have another mystery on their paws — a local dog has turned up with his face scared white and attached to a leash tied to his master’s arm — that’s all, just the arm. When he finally gets his wits back, he tells ’em that his owner, the caretaker at a cemetery, was pulled into an open grave, and everything but the arm got chewed up. When they investigate, they find a bunch of monsters made of grave earth and skull heads performing a resurrection ritual. The resurrectee? Some hooch-loving satanist who can understand animal talk and cast a bunch of nasty spells. They manage to bite him back to death, but the grave monsters raise him back up again, this time encasing him in a suit of armor made of their own bodies! Their only chance lies with Dymphna, the witch cat, who most of them don’t trust at all…

Verdict: Thumbs up. More great writing from Evan Dorkin and great art from Jill Thompson. When I first heard about this, I really wasn’t sure what to make of it — a horror series starring a bunch of ghostbusting housepets? But I’m glad I got to read it, ’cause it’s been a ton of fun. This is the last issue of this particular miniseries, but I think we’ll be seeing more issues of this in the future.


The Incredible Hercules #139

A bunch of superheroes, including Hercules and Amadeus Cho, are battling a bunch of Greek gods, titans, and monsters to stop Hera’s plan to use something called Continuum to destroy the world. For the most part, the Avengers are proving to be easy pickings for the gods, even for the heroes who are ultimately based on godly archetypes. (Zeus and Quicksilver, on the other hand, get along great.) Delphyne Gorgon, the queen of the Amazons, has her heart set on killing Athena, and she may be able to pull it off. And who is Thanatos, the god of death, waiting around for? In our backup story, the Agents of Atlas are attempting an underground raid on Hera’s skyscraper and end up tangling with the Cyclops, a chimera, and a bunch of animated skeletons.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Everything’s pretty chaotic, but there’s some really great characterization going on here, along with a lot of excellent dialogue and intrigue. And, of course, some of Greg Pak’s wonderful sound effects, like “TITANOSMAK,” “FRIKASEEEEEEE,” and “WYPOWT!”


Crossed #8

Last issue, the Crossed got hold of Cindy’s young son Patrick and turned him into one of them — a psychotic, violence-loving murder addict. In the aftermath of having to kill her only child, she’s mostly withdrawn from the group, willing to necessary security but not much else. In the leadership void, Brett starts asserting his inner aggressive scumbag, leading to yet another shocking act of violence. And the question remains — how to get Cindy back to her old self and keep her from losing herself to despair and self-loathing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Crossed don’t appear in this issue at all, but there is still some significantly disturbing and out-of-the-blue stuff, as well as some more insight about how the world slid into hell after the Crossed infection appeared. As always, good storytelling from Garth Ennis and beautiful art by Jacen Burrows.


Wonder Woman #39

Turns out all the suddenly pregnant Amazons are actually the victims of a dire plot by Ares, and everyone else is distracted by Alkyone’s attack on Wonder Woman and the other Amazons. While Wonder Woman battles the Cottus, an ancient, many-armed monster that claims to have crafted the clay that was used to create Wondy, the rest of the Amazons, along with Achilles and his followers, do what they can to stop Alkyone and her guards.

Verdict: I’ll give it a thumbs up, because there were some very cool moments, including Artemis leading Themyscira’s defenders past Alkyone to assist Wondy, the giant shark bringing Wonder Woman her lasso, and Zeus’ memories of being tortured by Desaad on Apokolips. But I’m still very, very, very tired of the focus on mythology and gods and suchlike in this comic. How ’bout some superheroics once in a while, ya know?

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