Endings are hard. No one quite knows what to say at a big goodbye, whether it be the end of a relationship or a funeral. It’s equally difficult to close out a story in a satisfying way, with so many famous failed finishes (looking at you, Seinfeld). When it all comes together just right though, it can save a bad story (looking at you, War Bears) or elevate a good one (holy shit, Frank Darabont’s The Mist, I’m still not okay). Evan Dorkin and Benjamin Dewey’s Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #4 wraps up the miniseries well, connecting all of the threads. It’s satisfying, if not world shattering.
Issue #4 starts with Tommy escorting his prisoners, our heroes Lundy, Miranda, and Emrys into the human camp. The humans have set up “a powerful suppression field,” counteracting the Wise Dog’s magic. They’re also threatening the dogs with unmagical but effective guns. And thus begins the villain’s monologue.
The Brotherhood of the Red Serpent has two leaders. The first is a magical old man with a human-faced raccoon that rides his shoulder. The second’s a more practical, soldier like, leader who’s fond of tough talk, “You stuck your nose in our business, and you kept it there. Wrong move. Wrong time. Wrong people.” Between the two of them, they lay it all out. There’s a Cthulhu-style monster, the Red Serpent, living in these thar hills and they’re going to awaken and control it. The plan goes about as well as it does for any villain who tries to bargain with eldritch horrors.
Benjamin Dewey’s art, as always, is a lot of fun. In this issue he really gets to flex his muscles, drawing Lovecraftian monsters, Scanners style head bursts, and firey explosions. It’s like someone turned my 11th grade math notebook into a coherent story and I love it.
There’s a lot to like in Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. The dialogue is full of mostly amusing quips. There’s an unexpected cameo that’s a lot of fun, and Dorkin wraps up the story nicely. The series ends with a good balance between answering the questions it raised, yet leaving enough unanswered for Dorkin and Dewey to have a solid direction when they pick it back up.
Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #4 is available from Dark Horse now.