Review: Stray Dogs #4
The previous issue of Stray Dogs had me guessing as to whether “Master” was really a killer or the dogs’ memory made it seem that way. Stray Dogs #4 gives a pretty definitive answer as the house of horrors is revealed. I’m not sure how you can explain away what’s revealed.
In the previous issue, Victor tried to call for help and Earl ratted him out to Master. Victor was then taken out behind the shed where we were left with a “bang”. Stray Dogs #4 picks up on that as panic sets in and the dogs attempt to figure out what happened to Victor. The revelations are a spiral of gross and sickening as the issue just builds and builds until its final moment.
This is house of horrors level of crazy and it’s been impressive that writer Tony Fleecs has kept readers guessing up to this point. But, with all that’s shown in this issue, it’s hard to dismiss any of it. This is a level of crazy that just builds and builds with one horrible thing leading to the next in a series of shocking revelations. Fleecs masterfully builds it all up using the dogs’ reactions to drive home to escalation. He also brilliantly sows dissension among the dogs. Sophie and Rusty attempt to make their case with Earl not wanting to accept the truth.
And that’s part of the brilliance of the issue. We’re not quite sure what is the truth until this issue. You can understand Earl’s reluctance to accept reality. He’s been treated well from what he remembers. But as things build, the panic that sets in is felt and reverberates from the page. It’s everything that works for horror stories in a cute package.
That “package” is delivered through the art of Trish Forstner. With color by Brad Simpson, layouts by Tone Rodriguez, and flatter Lauren Perry, the art continues to be beautiful. The style is classic animation with the dogs being their adorable self. What’s amazing is that mix of tones with this “cute” art juxtaposed with the very horror driven plot. The revelations keep the style but add a sense of terror. The mix is interesting and works really well.
Stray Dogs #4 is a fantastic issue that lays the cards on the table. You find yourself yelling “get out of the house” much like you would a horror film. The build up of revelations is perfectly executed delivering a punch in that last page. This is the issue where the truth is clear and will make you want to see what happens next immediately.
Story: Tony Fleecs Art: Trish Forstner
Color: Brad Simpson Layouts: Tone Rodriguez Flatters: Lauren Perry
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review