Battlepug #1 / Writers: Mike Norton & Shawn Pryor / Artists: Allen Passalaqua & Craig Cermak / Letters: crank! / Variant Cover: Chris Samnee & Matt Wilson / Publisher: Image Comics / Publish Date: September 4, 2019
The last Kinmundian and his Battlepug
While trying to avenge his fallen family, the last Kinmundian discovered his connection to a mystical energy called the Balance. He also made some friends along the way, including Moll, a magic guide, her two little dogs, and a giant Battlepug who fights by his side. With his Battlepug by his side, or underneath him like a horse, he will right wrongs and save the day, no matter how impulsive he acts or how silly his villains are. Battlepug #1 is a fantasy story that you’ve never seen before.
Humor and Politics
Mike Norton writes the main story of this book, “War on Christmas, Part One” and it is amazingly engaging and funny. Through this humor Norton does feature some heavy situations and even an adept comment on current politics, but manages to do so in an entertaining way. The villain created is priceless in his spoofed personality. The villagers are the passive masses that follow blindly in certain situations. Packing that comment on society into Battlepug #1 not only works, it adds to the dark humor.
Although Norton has yet to create real depth in the characters, they remain wonderful, especially Bryony. The young 8-10 year old is a budding earth mage with a foul mouth, sunny disposition, and affinity for names. Naming the Battlepug Sir Sprinkles Goodsniffer von Wigglebottom and swearing every chance she gets makes the character extremely endearing. The fantasy world he created is fun, crazy, and has a large heart.
Allen Passalaqua’s art is great. You’ll want to snuggle every goofy Pug or Frenchie face on the page. Bryony’s face is created almost as endearing as the sweet dog faces, which makes the angular hardness of the Kinmundian’s stand out in it’s seriousness. That is until you see his feet. His feet are comically tiny against his Conan sized body, as are the villian’s. One hopes this was done on purpose.
Passalaqua also does a fantastic job of creating a two page mural of the Kinmundian’s past. He beautifully depicts a snow globe mixture of memories telling a story of struggles and triumphs. Ultimately, the art accentuates the serious story line injected with humor that Norton has created.
Shawn Pryor’s shorter story, “Foul Growth”, features the lovely foul mouthed child herself learning a lesson in healing. The story is heartfelt, accented with Bryony’s trademark swearing. We get a better look at how this child is being raised and cared for by those around her. Pryor also shows us that she will indeed have the bright future we now wish for her. Craig Cermak and Allen Passalaqua’s art in this section is realistic and magical. The last panel in particular is beautifully drawn by Cermak, whilst the magical panels exceptionally colored by Passalaqua.
crank!’s lettering through both stories is fun, especially the creative way of showing Bryony’s trucker mouth. You can kinda see the bad word, but clearly it’s been redacted for the children who might be reading. The general text is not your normal comic typeset, but one that feels appropriate for the time period where the story is set. It is also worth mentioning that Chris Samnee & Matt Wilson’s variant cover, featured in the header, was expertly created in it’s drooly badassery.
More Battlepug Please
Overall, I really enjoyed Battlepug #1, the only downside being that there wasn’t enough of the Battlepug himself! As an avid dog lover, I wanted to see more action from the giant steed like Pug. Although, the action sequence we do get to see is fairly epic and adding two other pet dogs did help to accentuate the cute factor. That being said, I felt a bit tricked into a fantasy story I did not sign up for, but absolutely loved nonetheless.
The artwork helped to grab me, even with the tiny feet. I really enjoyed the crazy adventure this book took me on and plan to not only pick up the next issue, but go find Battlepug: The Compugdium that this book referenced. Battlepug might not change your life, but it will definitely make you smile.
(Side note: my dog is Sir Dublin von Fuzzypants, I have a trash mouth, and red hair. You stalking me Norton?)
Verdict: 4 out of 5