Writer: Mike Norton
Artist: Mike Norton
Colorist: Allen Passalaqua
Cover Artist: Mike Norton
Dark Horse Comics
Genre: Humor, Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Publication Date: October 14, 2015
Format:FC, 72 pages; HC,
Publication Date: October 14, 2015
Format:FC, 72 pages; HC,
THE BARBARIAN AND HIS BATTLEPUG COMPANION are a nearly unbeatable team, but after one of his motley crew of adventurers goes missing, the last Kinmundian must split off from his friends and journey, alone, into the heart of the den of the pirate king to find him. The rest of the group must fend for themselves while Catwulf’s ferocious forces hunt them down. But with a BATTLEPUG at their side, they at least have a fighting chance!
Guest Reviewers: Toby the Pug and Queenie the Pug, co-owners of author Dani Harper (who has negotiated for equal page space this time)
Queenie --- Like it says in the introduction, "come for the pugs, stay for the adventure".
Dani --- I agree. Fans of eccentric humor, and especially those who enjoy absurd mash-ups, will continue to be charmed by Mike Norton’s Battlepug webcomic. This latest book, THE DEVIL'S BISCUIT, is number 4 in the series, and continues the epic story with a collection of comics from the past year. As always, the artwork continues to be stellar, the coloring beautifully rendered, plus the panel layout is varied and interesting.
Queenie (sighing dramatically) --- It’s a pleasure to read this book just for the visuals. That is one hunka hunka burning pug!
Toby --- You keep taking the book to your kennel! I want to read it again!
Queenie --- I have seniority, I’m in charge of the book. You’ll just get drool all over it.
Toby --- Ha! You’re the one who’s doing all the drooling!
Dani --- If you two will just focus on the review, I promise I’ll get an extra copy so you each can have your own. Deal?
Toby and Queenie together --- “Deal.” *eye each other suspiciously just the same*
Dani --- All sweeping sagas have mysteries to be solved, and the opening scene confronts us once again with what just might prove to be the biggest mystery of all – our naked narrator, Moll. Confined to a tower high above a sprawling city, the beautiful woman has only a surly French bulldog (Colfax) and an affable pug (Mingo) for company.
Queenie --- Everyone knows, if you have a pug, you have it all.
Dani (muttering to herself) --- You certainly have a lot of SOME things … sneezes in your face, all-night snoring, room-clearing farts…
Toby --- I can’t hear you, you’re mumbling!
Dani (aloud) --- I was saying that you two are the light of my life, of course! While it’s true that pug companionship is very satisfying, this time we get a glimpse of secret sadness in Moll, a heaviness of heart that surprises her canine companions. Nevertheless, she continues to tell them the adventures of BATTLEPUG.
In case our readers have forgotten, or if they're new to the story, the hero is the last surviving member of the Kinmundian Tribe, known only as the Warrior. His enthusiastic steed is the faithful and freakishly ginormous pug –
Toby --- SPRINKLES! His name is Sprinkles! I wish my name was Sprinkles.
Queenie --- Ha! Your name should be Tinkles, the way you—
Dani --- Back on topic, guys! Anyway, all the reader really has to do is picture Conan the Barbarian riding a pug the size of an elephant in order to understand the quirky universe that Mike Norton has created. Our nameless Kinmundian warrior is on a quest for vengeance against his mortal enemy, Catwulf. Despite the hero’s desire for solitude on this mission, he's attracted both a genuine Canis Majoris and some unwanted followers. Book 3 showed us that, in spite of himself, he’s learned to care about his motley crew. As Book 4 opens, we again meet Scribbly, a crazy and mostly incoherent old hermit who nevertheless manages to explain what's going on to both the Warrior and the reader.
Toby – And Bryony’s back! She’s the one who named Sprinkles.
Dani --- Good for you, Toby. You remembered.
*Toby sticks his tongue out at Queenie when Dani’s not looking*
Dani --- Anyway, Bryony Bracken is a little girl with enough powerful magic to control and command the plant world.
Queenie --- She has a powerful vocabulary too! She cusses like a drunken sailor.
Dani --- That’s right, Queenie.
*Queenie makes a face at Toby*
Dani --- Moving on. Book 4 picks up where we left off in Book 3, with our heroes in a massive forest noted for unsavory characters. And sure enough, a band of thieves wander by talking loudly about the pirate king, Callistus, who will be attending the great Pirate Fest in the next town. Our heroes are captured –
Queenie --- And then they’re saved by a brand new character, Leighmin, a plant wizard like Bryony! Have you noticed that people come and go all the time in this story?
Dani --- True enough. In fact, Scribbly disappears during the struggle and can’t be found. Meanwhile, the new plant wizard reveals himself as a guide and mentor. Our heroes are used to a certain amount of weirdness by now. But they're unprepared to hear that they must split up and follow separate paths for a while. So for the first time since he met the big lug of a pug, the Kinmundian will have to leave his faithful steed behind.
Toby --- That part made me sad! *Snuffles loudly into the couch cushions*
Dani --- But first, he charges Sprinkles with the very important task of guarding Bryony, who has a destiny of her own to fulfill. And we know that the giant pug and little wizard girl will look after each other, right Toby?
Toby --- *Still snuffling* Yeah, I guess so. *Blows nose loudly, then farts. Looks around to see where the noise came from…*
Dani (gasping as she opens a window) --- Cough, cough, cough… So the Warrior walks to the Pirate Fest, blending in with some stolen clothes—
Queenie --- Ha! It’s a wonder he knew how to put them on. Apparently it's the first time he's worn pants since he was a kid.
Dani --- The important thing is that he spots Scribbly in the crowd and tries to follow him. A gang of thugs descend on the cape-covered old man, only to be beaten off by the Warrior. But it isn't Scribbly under the cape! Instead, it's a very small armor-clad human who introduces himself as Jangles the Lesser.
Queenie --- What did I just tell you? People come and go all the time in this story.
Toby--- Yeah, Jangles says he put on a cursed helmet that would make him live forever. But instead—
Dani --- NO SPOILERS! In fact, we’ve already said too much. What we can say, however, is that from this point on, the plot gets REALLY complicated.
Toby --- I’ll say! It made my brain hurt!
Queenie --- Everything makes YOUR brain hurt.
Toby --- Well, it’s not just me. Mingo’s brain got BROKEN in this story!
Dani --- Yes, well, that’s because THE DEVIL’S BISCUIT is true to its predecessors in the series. The pacing is just as fast and furious. It contains some amazing plot twists that none of us saw coming, plus some shocking revelations. There’s always a cliffhanger ending, of course –
Toby --- AND THIS ONE’S REALLY AWESOME! *runs madly in circles*
Dani --- Okay, I admit, it’s pretty good.
Toby --- *still running* I can’t WAIT, I can’t WAIT, I can’t WAIT for the last book! I wanna know what HAPPENED! *crashes into the side of the couch and falls over*
Dani --- Is he okay?
Queenie --- Yeah, he’s breathing, he’s fine. *kicks a couch cushion over Toby * What I want to know is how the writer’s going to resolve all this stuff with only one more book?
Dani --- I don’t know. And maybe Mike Norton doesn’t know yet either. He said he originally planned five books, but now? We’ll just have to see. In the meantime, I’m giving Book 4, THE DEVIL’S BISCUIT,
4 “I’ll-put-on-a-frilly-dress-and-dance-around-your-corpses” sheep.
Queenie --- Are you kidding me? It has pugs! It even has a pug MOUNTAIN this time! Automatic five!
Toby (from under the couch cushion) --- Yeah, it should be five!
Dani (sighing) --- We have this argument every time we review a Battlepug book. Look, if we were reviewing it for a pug audience, it would be five. But we’re reviewing this for humans, so it gets four.
Toby --- I’ll bet if the Battlepug was here, you’d give it a TEN!
Dani --- Okay, that’s probably true. Tell you what, I’ll give FIVE “pug-kisses-are-totally-unavoidable” sheep to the bonus pages in this book. There’s a fun collection of the Warrior and the Battlepug drawn by over a dozen guest artists.
*Toby farts again. Dani and Queenie flee the building…*
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Battlepug Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/Battlepug-The-Web-Comic-123886081014933/timeline/
Battlepug Website (read the comic daily, check out Mike Norton’s blog, and buy cool stuff - http://battlepug.com/
Battlepug 4: THE DEVIL’S BISCUIT – buy link on Amazon –http://amzn.to/1VSxr77