Comic Book Review: Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch (One-Shot)
Who loves cute puppies and kitties? I know you do! And who likes the supernatural and paranormal? Yep, you again! So you’re reading Beasts of Burden, right? And if not, why not?
Granted, we haven’t seen an issue of Beasts of Burden since the four-legged occult investigators teamed up with Hellboy in October 2010, so I understand if these characters have snuck under your radar.
Well, now is a good time to get initiated, with Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch (one-shot) from Dark Horse.
Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch tells three short stories involving six dogs named Red, Ace, Rex, Jack, Whitey, and Pugsley and a couple of cats named Orphan and Dymphna in the small town of Burden Hill. Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch reprints the three short stories from Dark Horse Presents #4 through 6.
Written by Evan Dorkin, with art from the ever talented Jill Thompson, the Beasts of Burden have captured my heart and imagination. Dorkin writes each animal as a distinct character, from the mysterious Wise Dog to the humorous Pugsley, each one has a distinct voice and is a fully fleshed-out individual.
And Jill Thompson’s art work is nothing short of incredible. She brings a realism to the painted panels on every page. I never get tired of seeing her art on these characters.
As far as the three short stories are concerned, each one is head-and-shoulders above the last. Red and Orphan investigate missing chickens in Food Time, Story Time tells the tale of a dog and his owner in the middle-ages, and the best of the three is the final story, The View From the Hill.
Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say each story is better than the last, and The View From the Hill is worth the price tag of the entire comic alone. I’m purposefully avoiding speaking about the content of The View From the Hill with good reason. It’s a damned good short and you should read it for yourself.
All in all, I feel like Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch works much better as a one-shot than Concrete: Three Easy Pieces (which in hindsight I’ve learned was collected from DHP #1 through 3). The stories are well crafted and, in all three cases, each story manages to fit a beginning, middle, and end in the space of around 10 pages a piece. A very hard feat for telling very short stories in comic books.
Beasts of Burden: Neighborhood Watch gets two-thumbs-up from me. It’s different and quirky and I’m sure you’ll grow to love these animals as much as I do.
It’s on shelves of your comic book stores as you read this. Get into it.