[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Paul and his kids, Sabina and Russell, are paranormal investigators hired to look into the strange happenings on Burden Hill. They immediately come across the Wise Dogs of Burden Hill, and the dogs explain what they’ve been dealing with of late. A colony of rats powered by a shamanic sect and skull golems have been running rampant across Burden Hill. The dogs have barely been able to contain the situation. Paul’s family and the Wise Dogs go to investigate a mausoleum which he believes to be a potential source for the troubles. However, the group is split up when the cat swifties warn them of danger.
Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #1 is a compelling return for the Dark Horse series. We return to Burden Hill with a new family attempting to suss out what is happening in the area.
For those less familiar with the Beasts of Burden story, like myself, this makes for an excellent entrypoint into the universe. You meet the Wise Dogs through Paul, Sabina, and Russell. You’re not expected to know all of the dogs and cats, as the family doesn’t know them yet either. Paul’s family is quickly established, and then you begin to meet the Wise Dogs.
The threat of the rat colony is quite ghastly and makes for decent villains for the Beasts of Burden.
The pacing is quite good on the whole, and there’s never really a lull. Things move forward at a utilitarian pace, introducing the reader to the characters before the action and supernatural violence begins in earnest.
Jill Thompson’s artwork is as excellent as one would expect from her. The world of Beasts of Burden is made to have distinct look and feel. The characters are expressive, and the faces look especially good. Her color work is graded and balanced well to boot. This is a gorgeous comic.
Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #1 is a stellar return for the series. Evan Dorkin crafts an great story, and Jill Thompson’s artwork is phenomenal. This is an excellent read and one easily worthy of a recommendation. Check it out.
Beasts of Burden: The Presence of Others #1 comes to us from writer Evan Dorkin, artist and cover artist Jill Thompson, and letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot.