I love how Stray Dogs #5 wraps up the comic series but at the same time, I’m not sure I love the issue as a whole. It’s an issue that’s full of action, tense moments, and sadness. But, it also feels a bit “short” and too much of a quick read. The contents of Stray Dogs #5 feels like it’d have been fine in an extended fourth issue than merits an issue on its own. But, it also means the series will likely be a fantastic read once it’s collected.
With a story by Tony Fleecs, the dogs know the truth and the Master is clearly a murderer. They need to escape or they’ll likely meet a deadly fate as well. This means they have two options to fight and to flee. What Fleecs does with this issue is fantastic. It’d be so easy to turn this final issue into a “Home Alone” like battle with the dogs tripping master or setting up obstacles so they can get away. Instead, Fleecs keeps it all grounded. They run and they fight. No tricks, only panicked attempts to escape. It also delivers a sadness to it all in the fact that they’re dogs. They’re boxed in by fast moving cars they don’t know what to do with and have to face a world they don’t know at all.
A lot of that emotion is delivered in the art by Trish Forstner with colors by Brad Simpson. Featuring layouts by Tone Rodriguez and Chris Burnham and work by flatter Lauren Perry, the art continues its amazing Don Bluth-like style. The look and colors creates a sweetness about the dogs it’s hard to not feel bad for them. Their fear and panic ooze off the page. There’s also an interesting bit of reserved quality about the finale. It’d be easy to have gone over the top in the blood and gore. Instead, what’s shown is minimal emphasizing the aspect just enough to make it clear where things stand.
Stray Dogs #5 is a solid ending to the series. It wraps things up nicely with an emotional rollercoaster that at times tugs at heartstrings. But, the issue doesn’t quite stand on its own. It feels like returning to a film “after the break” and in ways is a little unsatisfying as a stand alone issue. Yes, it’s part of a single story but it’s a single story broken up in issues and in this case the issue itself feels a little thin. But, it works so well as part of the whole. If you haven’t read the single issues, it’s a story that sticks the landing and will be a collection that’s well worth picking up when released.
Story: Tony Fleecs Art: Trish Forstner
Color: Brad Simpson Layouts: Tone Rodrigeuz, Chris Burnham Flatter: Lauren Perry
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review