Mike Norton’s popular comic is moving from the webcomic space into its own recurring series at Image Comics. Available on Wednesday, September 4, BATTLEPUG #1 stars the Kinmundian, the last survivor from a race of warrior who were brutally murdered by an overlord named Catwulf, and his Battlpug, a giant pug who serves as his trusty steed. This issue features the duo’s next adventure following the defeat of Catwulf in the webcomic. They’ve picked up some friends and are ready to travel world, most likely running into plenty of hysterical trouble along the way.
The Kinmundian and the Battlepug embark upon their new journey with the mage Moll and her dogs named Mingo and Colfax. Moll has taken it upon herself to help the battle-worn warrior embrace his dormant beast mage power, a skill that will allow him to assume the abilities of the animal kingdom.
While exploring the group runs across the village of Ashkum, which is in desperate need of some saving. Their current leader, Jofel, rules the citizens with an iron fist through a sock puppet named Coufefe. While the absurdity is plenty entertaining, readers will almost certainly catch the reference to two of the world’s most powerful men: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Norton doesn’t pull any punches in this story; the entertaining allusions to our current political climate are right in your face. Jofel is a spitting image of the shirtless Putin meme popularized by outlets such as Saturday Night Live; the fact that the orange-haired Coufefe is fully controlled by the other only makes the allegory that much more hilarious.
The Kinmundian picks a fight with Jofel and chaos ensues. We see the overlord transform into a half-bear creature, showcasing the impressive beast mage abilities our hero has so coveted. Now the warrior, along with Battlepug, must liberate the town and discover the secret to his antagonist’s transformation.
Norton and Allen Passalaqua’s penciling, inking, and coloring help give this issue all the mix of beauty and horror in classic adventure stories. One minute readers are treated to beautiful landscapes and the next they find themselves in the middle of a bloody battle between the Kinmundian and Jofel. In addition, the lettering work from Crank! gives these characters a relatable voice; the bolded words sprinkled throughout their dialogue features emotions of distress, panic, and joy as they interact with their world.
Norton and Paassalaqua’s main comic book cover entices readers by featuring the heroic team of the Kinmundian and his Battlepug charging into battle. Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson’s variant cover depicts the duo in a similar position, but in a more realistic style to show us what a real giant pug would look like in our world.
BATTLEPUG #1 is an exiting story full of intrigue, hilarity, and thoughtfulness. It’s rare to see such a balance of these qualities, but Norton, Passalaqua, and team hit this one out of the park.
Did you enjoy the thinly-veiled allegories made throughout this story? Let us know in the comments below!