[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Mike Norton
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
A tale of redemption and farewell, as G-Dog learns the secrets of his origin, faces personal tragedy and joins a very unlikely superhero team. Featuring the return of Kittyhawk and Rocket Dog, and the debut of Ghost Ferret. Part two of a special two-parter with art by guest artist Mike Norton (Revival, Battlepug).
This story can feel like a punch to the gut if you’ve ever lost a beloved pet, as Buddy reaches the end of his story. While being reminded that those feelings hurts, it allows the story to have a strong emotional impact.
Andy goes through the difficult emotions that most pet owners know. The realization that you will probably outlive your pet and will someday have to grieve. Seeing your pet getting older and approaching that day. And in many cases, having to make the decision to prolong their life or end their suffering.
And after Buddy passes, Andy faces the choice of continuing to be a superhero without Buddy. Andy realizes he has powers without Buddy, so he can continue on his own. He also can use the amulet with another animal, potentially gaining new powers. Buddy chooses to give up the amulet, but we are left wondering whether he continued a superheroic career with his inherent powers.
Andy does go to the trouble of redesigning his G-Dog costume, so I’m guessing he chooses to carry on as a crime fighter. So, I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he pops up in future issues.
On a lighter note, the Pet Patrol was a nice nod to DC’s silver age group, the Legion Of Super-Pets. Plus, Dr. Monkey’s continual unsuccessful attempts to find a better name for the group. I especially liked to see Kittyhawk back so soon after her debut a few issues ago – if only briefly.
The powerful emotions can be somewhat rough, and if you don’t like stories that pull on your heartstrings, then this might not be a story for you. And if you have very recently lost a pet, this might be difficult to get through. However, despite the sad nature of the story, it is somewhat hopeful. You do get past the initial pain and life carries on and you still have the happy memories. It’s a bittersweet ending, but it reminds you that your lives are enriched by having a pet in it.
The only other negative is that there wasn’t enough time to see much of the Pet Patrol in action. Beyond Dr. Monkey, they generally didn’t contribute to the story at all, and Dr. Monkey only had a minimal contribution. As a cat person, I was happy to see Kittyhawk return, but was disappointed that she didn’t really do anything other than just be present.
This was a very powerful story. Even though I’m not much of a dog person, it still affected me. Busiek is a master at telling stories that anybody can relate too, even though they are set in a fantastical universe, and this is a masterful example.