Review by Frank Plowright
As was the case for the previous Wild Card, Dog Men is set between the Dresden Files novels Small Favor and Turn Coat.
An eight page dream sequence is not an original start for Mark Powers writing his first solo Dresden graphic novel, Dresden’s creator Jim Butcher not being involved, and this lack of originality is a sign of what follows. Powers takes Dresden away from concerns in Chicago and down to Mississippi accompanied by the enigmatic, but extremely powerful spiritual presence Dresden knows as Injun Joe. In Mississippi some dangerous creatures are being manipulated and framed.
Dog Men is a decent enough Dresden Files graphic novel if read in isolation, but as part of a series the repetition is telling. For the first time we have supernatural threats repeated from an earlier graphic novel (Ghoul Goblin), while the wolf men may not be exactly the same as the werewolves seen earlier (Full Moon), but they sure do look similar. Powers also has Dresden acting far too impulsively and quick to anger. He has this quality, and it might not have mattered had Powers only resorted to it once, but there are three occasions over the first two chapters alone, and Powers doesn’t restrict it to those. It eventually turns out to be a plot point, but it’s contrived. Nor is a dream sequence only used the single time. Better is the introduction of a US government task force affiliated with the FBI aware of supernatural threats and with weapons capable of dealing with them.
There’s a very traditional look to Diego Galindo’s art, resembling the no nonsense style found in British boys’ comics of the 1970s and 1980s. It would work in black and white without the colour, telling the story with a minimum of flash or detail on the main story pages, while ensuring the chapter splash pages all work as single illustrations.
Unfortunately, Dog Men doesn’t pick up as it continues. Powers knows the finale he wants, and at face value it works well, but the logic behind it doesn’t stand up. Are a substantial threat that have remained hidden for decades going to go public just because they’re mad at Dresden? It’s possibly meant to reflect Dresden’s own lack of control, but as noted, that’s a contrived plot.
Despite Butcher posting updates regarding a new Dresden Files novel, the last was published in 2015, and likewise there have been no further graphic novels since Dog Men was issued in 2018.