When Mark Russell and Steve Pugh’s Billionaire Island returned last month, it carried on two years after the conclusion to the original. It showed readers what happened next, after the world had collapsed. Cult of Dogs is essentially Billionaire Island without the billionaires (since they all perished in the original). But one question readers were left with last month was: what happened to Business Dog? Well, issue #2 has your answer as it continues the story of the world’s richest mammal.
You know a satire is good when you nod along reverently and disregard the somewhat ludicrous plot. Yes, this issue sees an elite mercenary team take on trapped Hollywood actors while they attempt to capture a dog. Yes, the Hollywood actors are not-so-subtle caricatures of recognizable faces. Yes, the dog is the richest animal on the planet and holds the power. But it’s written so well your suspension of disbelief allows for the more serious points to shine through.
One such point that comes across well this time is Russell’s comparison between the stock market and dog racing. This is carried over from the original series, but now we’re seeing the proper fallout to such a satiric dig. It’s plot points like this that would fail in other comics. As one of the comics industry’s premier satirists, Russell know’s how to tell a joke and when to make a salient point humorous. The result is that you laugh on one page then sigh on the next once the reality has set in.
As much praise as Russell rightly deserves, it shouldn’t overshadow Steve Pugh’s artwork. Certain books just have perfect creative teams. It’s hard to imagine this story with a different artist. Pugh’s matter of fact style works in tandem with Russell’s silly but serious script. Pugh’s expressions are like his version of Russell’s more over-the-top concepts. The Hollywood actors in this issue are a great example of Pugh’s range as an artist.
As with all AHOY books, it needs to be mentioned that the comic comes with prose extras. These two short stories complete the issue. It should be added that the main chapter is more than enough on its own, but that’s AHOY for you – they always give more than you expect.
It’s always difficult to come up with negatives after praising the book for four paragraphs. If anything, it feels a little like the plot took a mild step back following last month’s issue. That’s a couple issues in a row now that have focused on what happened since the last series. But we’ve not had much yet on what is happening this series. Although, with Russell and Pugh at the helm there’s more than enough reason to have confidence.
Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs #2 keeps the ball rolling. With satire that’s both necessary and thought provoking, the book delivers as many laughs as it does sighs as readers are left contemplating the world.
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