The second issue of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory from Dark Horse Comics really starts to ramp up the supernatural horror. It’s definitely less Scooby-Doo and more like Supernatural in Japan with dogs here.
To recap the previous issue of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory: this whole story is actually a Wise Dog telling an audience of younger dogs an old war story of his. Said Wise Dog is not only wise in the wisdom sense, but he’s also a shaman/sorcerer, so you can bet that you’re in for a good war story. Said war story is his account of his (mis)adventures in Japan sometime during its Allied occupation. He introduces us to a local dog he hires as a guide/assistant, and soon they’re off on their merry (mis)adventure. Said (mis)adventure consists of figuring out who or what is murdering US soldiers in the dead of night in rather bizarre ways. After some supernatural stuff, the doggy duo quickly discover the cause. Yeah, good luck with that, because they need it in this issue.
All issues of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory are the creation of writers Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer. Benjamin Dewey is responsible for both the art, colors, and the cover art. Nate Piekos is the letterer here.
You can buy Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 from Dark Horse Comics on May 5, 2021 for only $3.99. Trust me, this is well worth the money.
Warning: Spoilers for Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 below. If you want to read this comic book for yourself, paws here and come back when you’re done.
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 ~ Plot Summary
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 picks up where we left off in the previous issue. Basically, our loyal native dog guide managed to find the cause of the murdered US soldiers. The hard way. As in: octopus heads trying their best to nom on him. Fortunately, it seems our Wise Dog knows some firebending, which comes in really useful against tentacled zombie heads.
Our canine heroes of Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory then proceed to track down where the soldiers’ heads were going. One of them a bit reluctantly, but it’s either that or he heads back to base alone. Our doggy duo encounters a bunch of yokai from Japanese folklore, including an apparent cannibal woman, before finally tracking down those darned heads. Except, there’s a bunch of them, and they’re very hungry. Fortunately, firebending works on them too, and our local guide even demonstrates that he isn’t useless in a fight. Unfortunately, our heroes then run into a pack of what appears to be Akita Inus, and they don’t look too friendly for some reason. Even more unfortunately, that’s it for this issue. We’ll just have to find out what these new doggos want in Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #3.
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 ~ The Good
Do you like either Scooby-Doo or Supernatural? If so, would you like to see them mashed up into a crossover and sent to Japan on a supernatural horror trip through the annals of Japanese folklore? If so, then you can tell why I love Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory. Especially those references to Japanese mythology and folklore I mentioned. You know you’re a yokai fan when you recognize kappa, tanuki, and kitsune without anyone telling you.
That, and the fact that the main characters in Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory are all dogs. It definitely gives the whole story a unique perspective, since dogs have much better senses than humans do. I would definitely call this story xenofiction because of that. If you tried to replace the dogs with humans, the story just would not make sense. Not unless the human had super-smelling abilities, and a penchant for biting their enemies. At that point, is that human really a human anymore?
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 ~ The Bad
I really do find it very difficult to say anything bad about Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory as a whole, let alone this second issue, which means that I do really have to nitpick here. I felt mildly disappointed when the Wise Dog’s human partner wasn’t going to be joining our doggy duo on their supernatural (mis)adventure. However, the in-story reason did make sense, and well, it would’ve detracted from the dogs’ story if the human had joined them. Because ultimately, this is the doggos’ story, not the human’s, and I’m glad that the writers made this decision.
Beasts of Burden: Occupied Territory #2 continues the story of our daring doggy duo as they set forth on their adventures through the annals of Japanese folklore. Not only that, but the story gets even more Supernatural-like in this issue. If you have a thing for supernatural horror stories told from the perspective of dogs, check out this comic book on Dark Horse Comics when it comes out on May 5, 2021. It’ll be a real howler of a story.
Source: Dark Horse Comics