Harry Dresden is used to people coming to him for help. It’s par for the course when you’re both a private investigator and a Warden of The White Council of Wizardsthe magical police force tasked with protecting the mortal world from black magic and things that go bump in the night. Still, Harry is surprised when he is approached by Joseph Listens-To-Wind; one of the seven wizards who lead The White Council as part of The Senior Councilabout investigating a murder in rural Mississippi.

Something tore apart most of a small family and the local sheriff is entirely clueless as to what could have done it. Soon Harry finds himself caught between a secret federal team tasked with bringing down whatever committed the murders by any means necessary and a savage hidden race of Wolf People who live in the forest. Listens-To-Wind insists The Wolf People are innocent but they will also not take any attempt on their lives with good grace. This leaves Harry having to find the real killers and bring them to justice, all while preventing all-out war between the local people: The Wolf People and the Feds.

The Dresden Files graphic novels somehow find a way to get worse and worse with every passing volume. The only positive aspect of the book is Mark Powers’ dialogue. Powers perfectly captures Harry’s sarcastic, referential sense of humor and inner monologue from the Jim Butcher novels.

As with the previous Dresden Files graphic novel Wild Card, the biggest problem with Dog Men is that it shatters the continuity of the original books. At one point in this story, Listens-To-Wind shape-shifts into an animal in front of Harryan action which astonishes Harry given how smoothly the old Shaman manages a fairly difficult spell. The problem is that the novel Turn Coatwhich is set after Dog Men chronologicallyhad a fairly famous scene in which Listens-To-Wind saves Harry from a monster and astonishes him by performing the same smooth shape-shifting there, where it is apparent that Harry had no idea Listens-To-Wind could do such a thing.

In addition to the continuity errors, Listens-To-Wind’s portrayal in this story is also something of a problem. In the original novels, Listens-To-Wind is presented as a fully developed supporting charactera medical doctor in addition to being master of healing magic. His role here is so brief, however, that he comes off as a cliché Native American mystic.

Continuity in the art is also a problem in Dog Men. The first chapter ends with Listens-To-Wind and Harry being confronted by federal agents who are wearing some kind of uniform. When Chapter Two opens, the agents are now wearing business suits and ties!

As in earlier volumes of The Dresden Files graphic novels, there are also conflicts between what the text describes and what artist Diego Galindo depicts. For instance, Harry’s internal monologue notes at one point that the fur of his dog, Mouse, is matted with blood following a fight. The artwork depicts no such thing, with Mouse looking as hale and hearty as ever. Another scene has Listens-To-Wind admonishing Harry about controlling his temper, as Harry is smiling and stroking Mouse’s fur!

The volume is rated Teen + for teens 16 and up, and I consider that to be reflective of the book’s content. There’s quite a bit of blood and gore and a fair amount of intense cursing I would consider inappropriate for younger readers. This matters little, however, as I consider the whole of Dresden Files: Dog Men inappropriate for everybody, regardless of their age and maturity level. Only fans of the original series could appreciate this book, but the sloppy artwork and lack of continuity in relation to Dresden Files novels will prevent them from doing so.

Dresden Files: Dog Men
by Mark Powers, Jim Butcher
Art by Diego Galindo
ISBN: 9781524105440
Dynamite Comics, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: Teen + (16+)

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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