(W) Even Dorkin (I) Jill Thompson
Normally, summoning demons takes some amount of magic. It’s a fantasy many of us have when we read about supernatural realms. Now imagine constantly fighting supernatural beings, it gets really boring quickly. Welcome to Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites. Please note, this story contains graphic violence and gore and is not recommended for children. This is the only warning I will provide before going forward.
The story is about a group of animals that live in a small town. One day, they notice a supernatural occurrence take place in their hometown and they decide to investigate. Things take a turn for the worse when they find a demon that has killed a friend of the group. The animals band together in an attempt to defeat the demon and together become the members of the Wise Dog Society. Their job is to solve supernatural crimes in the local area and protect the citizens from disaster.
I love the ensemble cast of all of the animals as each one served their purpose in the group. I loved Orphan’s role in the group as she could jump from one role to the other, unlike the other dogs. She was a cool cat that knew everything about the neighborhood yet knew how to protect her friends at the root of everything. Ace, a giant dog, was the leader of the gang. He speaks up enough to grab the attention of his pack. But my favorite character was Lady as she held a graceful presence amongst her group even as a witch. I was really surprised how the animals reflected humans based on their social upbringing. The creators did a great job reflecting them as humans in some aspects.
My favorite part of the story was the supernatural cases the creators came up with. Without spoiling a lot, each case had a unique premise or situation. For every case, a new type of magic was presented and it was up to the crew to stop the craziness. There’s no doubt the gang wasn’t the best at magic, but they were able to use what they learned to protect themselves. It’s sad to learn that the magic that is used has its flaws, but it’s nice to see the animals have a combative side to them. The only thing that makes me puzzled is why the animals have decided to become pets to humans if they have their own sentience. It makes no sense to me on this level.
I really love the watercolor paint art style. In my opinion, this is one of the hardest artistic mediums a person can take on. From painting the picture and then waiting for it to dry, it takes a lot of patience to make sure every panel was clear and crisp. Considering how clear the images were, I was really surprised and intrigued from the start. It also helped that there was just enough action and gore to keep me thrilled from one panel to the next. Overall, I love the art style and can’t wait to see more from the creators.
Finally, I am in love with the plot of this story. I rarely see stories about sentient animals casting magic. Even so, most of the animals are shapeshifters or as used as secondary characters. It’s nice to see a unique take by the creators. It would be really nice to see the society of magic come up more throughout the stories rather than the gang in Winchester. It would be great to see the world of magic and how these animals go about global investigations.
Overall, this comic has a great start. While there is a cute, adventurous twist with the use of pets, it quickly turns into a bloody adventure with murder and danger always on the front. The diverse cast of characters doesn’t overwhelm the story and allows the reader to pick a favorite. If you want more information about the comic, click here.