Bad Dog #1

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Diego Greco
40 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

Everyone knows the old "they fight crime" game; you take two radically different professions and adjectives, attach them to people, and announce that they fight crime. Just like that, you’ve got a movie or television pitch just waiting to happen. In the case of Bad Dog, I can’t help but think that Joe Kelly did just that but changed the ending to, "They’re bounty hunters." It would certainly explain a lot towards the genesis of this strange little comic.

Wendell and Lou are bounty hunters, but that’s the most normal thing about the pair of them. Wendell’s a fast-swearing, faster-drinking man who seems to have an aversion to wearing shirts. Lou’s the calm and collected one, but he’s also a werewolf who doesn’t change back to his human form. And somehow, these two are supposed to be protecting innocents by taking scum off the streets—for a reward, of course.

Bad Dog #1 is a meandering, all-over-the-map introduction to our two main characters, and I can’t help but wonder if this is a style that Kelly plans on keeping for the entire series. In some ways Bad Dog feels more like a collection of vignettes; the guys go drinking, the guys hit the convenience store, the guys try and take down their prey. It’s a book that certainly goes all over the place, and while it’s good for setting a tone, its less-than-direct nature may very well scare off some readers. If nothing else, though, Bad Dog #1 is a great introduction to Lou, the reluctant werewolf. He’s definitely the one to cheer on, with his cool head and wry disposition. He’s certainly easier to warm to than Wendell, whom after a while you can’t help but wonder if Kelly is using in an attempt to see what his readers’ breaking point is. So far he doesn’t seem to add much to the book, save for a slight streak of foulness and to be slumped off in the corner; with any luck, later issues will delve into this a little more and make him a bit more interesting.

Diego Greco’s art in Bad Dog is slick and smooth, almost like it’s been airbrushed onto the page. It’s a style that makes a werewolf staring into a refrigerator look absolutely natural, and it was at that point that I knew I was a fan of Greco’s art. His character portraits go a long way towards defining the feel of Bad Dog, from Lou’s stoic strength and stature, to Wendell’s slightly slimy and greasy nature. Greco’s also good with the action sequences in Bad Dog #1; a guy face-planting into the ground after being thrown often looks cartoonish, but here Greco makes it seem as natural as a werewolf leaping over a fence. Ok, perhaps a bad comparison, but you get the idea.

I’m curious to see where Bad Dog will go from here; it’s not a bad concept by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t quite stand out as much as it could right now. I’m hoping that the recurring milk carton motif and Lou’s reaction to them is going somewhere—I think that sort of longer-term story is what is missing for me right about now. Still, there’s promise, and it sure is a beautiful enough book to add that onto the list of attractions. For the moment, it’s definitely on the radar.

4 comments to Bad Dog #1

  • Oddacidtea

    I disagree with your take on it. The Bounter Hunter aspect has nothing to do with it. The writing is clever, even if offensive. the characters are immediatley endearing, and there are truly LOL moments, and not just the kind that you type when you aren”t really laughing.

    And Mrs. Chico is proceless, BTW.

  • Drew

    I’ve gotta agree with Oddacidtea on this one I really enjoyed the rambling method of writing, leaves more space for jokes about drunkardness, violence and Mrs. Chico! I have to admit that Issue one’s cover…I only picked it up to make sure it was about a werewolf and not a bear. But the second issue is priceless and makes the first seem pale by comparison, and I enjoyed the first issue.

  • fanbla72

    i usually read my books in runs, waiting until a story-arc was complete or getting a whole pile before I read ’em.

    when i picked this first issue up when it landed on the shelves i had to read it. i had no idea what it was about.

    its a great read. i’ve since read 2 and i have 3 ready to go. lovin it.