Advance Review – Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers (one-shot) (Dark Horse)

20069Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Evan Dorkin
Artist: Jill Thompson
Release Date: 12th March 2014

Burden Hill, small suburban town, is host to all sorts of spectres and malevolent creatures. Thank the Dog Almighty then that protection is provided in the form of the local cats and dogs who form the last line of defence between the forces of darkness and the unknowing human population.

When you see Jill Thompson’s name on the cover of a comic it pretty much guarantees some lovely painted artwork and this is very much the case here. Lush woodland scenes fit beautifully with Thompson’s storybook style, the soft edges lending an otherworldly feel to the setting. Similarly impressive is the way that she manages to keep the animals alive with character without ever anthropomorphising them. It’s a tightrope act which she carries off with aplomb.

Working in tandem with Thompson’s gorgeous art, the script by Evan Dorkin does a good job of establishing the central conceit and characters. It’s a shame then that the actual story is a but bare in the bones. A meeting is held and a monster is dealt with, but it’s all a bit matter-of-fact and at times it feels like it’s establishing material for future stories rather than telling one in itself.

As one-shots go this feels a little incomplete, Thompson’s art is delightful and Dorkin’s script is solid enough but there’s not enough substance to the story to make this indispensable.

Rating: 3/5.

The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.

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