Like he did in the first two issues, Evan Dorkin continues explaining the lore of The Beasts of Burden universe in Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #3. He uses the Wise-Dog-in-Training, Miranda, as a vehicle for the questions needed answered to the audience. In this issue, she explains how “Drawn magic taps into certain energies. The words are a sort of focus…or a path. Most wise dogs don’t have to say spells out loud. They can internalize them.”
The world-building would be easy to miss, though, because this installment is so damn exciting. Last issue ended with Lundy and the Wise Dogs finding a barnful of flayed sheep carcasses. This one opens with them interrogating a witness: Tommy.
Continuing the trend of revealing big answers, Tommy explains what’s been going wrong in these hills: “They believe there’s somethin’ big an’ powerful asleep in the mine. They worship. Sing to it. Kill animals. They wanna wake it up, coax it outside.” It’s a bigger scale than the previous issues of Beasts of Burden; a Cthulhu style monster sleeping (dead but dreaming?) that the villains are trying to wake up. It makes sense. Lundy and the Wise Dogs are more of an army than the adventuring band from the original Beasts of Burden.
There’s a twist set up at the beginning of the issue and executed near the end; however, it isn’t set up for the readers. The dogs figure something out based on the smell. It makes sense as something believable — my dog’s sense of smell leads her to each part of the road killed squirrel bodies under the grass in my neighborhood long before I register them — but as a storytelling device it doesn’t work. A twist is good because it makes the reader say, “Of course.” There was nothing to tip the reader off on this one, though.
But other than that, Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #3 is excellent. The pace is picking up leading into the fourth and final issue of this miniseries. Lundy is as funny as ever, and Miranda has a cheer-worthy moment. Benjamin Dewey’s art, especially the gore of an exploding head and the flayed bodies of the sheep, is excellent.
Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #3 was released by Dark Horse on October 24th, 2018.
Wicked Rating: 8/10