Coming off his battle of wits with Puck, Harry is having nightmares about what the future might hold for himself and those he loves. In the midst of this angst, senior White Council member, Listens-to-Wind arrives unexpectedly, asking for Harry's help. A family in rural Mississippi has disappeared, leaving behind what appears to be a brutal murder scene, and an eyewitness swears she saw a giant, dog-man lurking about. As Harry and Listens-to-Wind investigate this never-before-seen supernatural species, believing they may have had a hand in the presumed murders, the wizards quickly discover that things aren't entirely what they seem. But can Harry overcome his unsettled state of mind long enough to follow the clues to the true killers and defeat them?
Dog Men is the seventh graphic novel in the Dresden Files world and yet another of these shorter stories that falls between Small Favor and Turn Coat in the greater series chronology. This one has Harry traveling to rural Mississippi at the request of senior White Council member, Listens-to-Wind. Four members of the same family disappeared in what appears to be some kind of brutally violent attack, and the only eyewitness thinks she saw a huge dog-like man emerging from the home of the victims. It appears that a mysterious race of wolf people - who are neither wolf nor man, but something in between - may be to blame. As Harry and Listens-to-Wind help the local sheriff investigate, they're impeded by government agents who Listens-to-Wind believes are there to exterminate the wolf people. But as they look into the matter, they discover that things aren't entirely as they seem when Harry encounters the kin of an old nemesis out for revenge.
This story briefly connects to the previous graphic novel, Wild Card, as it opens with Harry having nightmares that appear to be fueled by a sense of powerlessness regarding his encounter with the villainous Puck, which I didn't fully understand, though I admit I might be forgetting something that occurred in that book. From there, the story mostly dives into the main part of the plot, although Harry is seen a little emotionally unhinged in a couple of scenes, which again made me feel like I was missing something. Not to mention, not much really came of that part of the story. As for the main plot line in this book, it connects with a previous graphic novel story, Ghoul Goblin. I generally enjoyed it and thought that it was pretty well done. However, I missed all the supporting characters I've come to love in the Dresden World: Murphy, Molly, Thomas, Marcone. Some of them are only seen briefly in one of Harry's dreams. The only familiar characters who are part of the main story in this one are Harry, Listens-to-Wind, and Mouse, so this might have accounted for some of the disconnect I felt from the greater Dresden universe. I did enjoy getting to know Listens-to-Wind, the elderly Native American, White Council member who can shape-change into a variety of different animals, which is cool, and for an old dude, he's still pretty strong and powerful. We haven't seen a great deal of him even in the novels up to this point in the series, so it was nice to learn more about him.
Based on the credits page, it appears that Jim Butcher was part of this project in name only as the creator of the Dresden Files series. Instead, it seems that Dog Men was written entirely by Mark Powers who has collaborated on most, if not all, of the previous graphic novels in this series. While I can't put my finger on precisely what it was, I did pick up on the differences in the two authors' writing styles. It just felt a bit dissimilar to me, and therefore didn't feel quite as authentic. However, it was still a good story overall that was reasonably entertaining, just not one that had the same pizazz as some of the other graphic novels that Jim Butcher had a hand in. This one also introduces Diego Galindo, an artist who is brand new to this fantasy world. There was enough similarity between his artistic style and that of other illustrators who've worked on past graphic novels in the series that it wasn't too jarring. But at the same time, his work isn't one of my favorites. He just has a different vision of the characters that doesn't match my own as closely as other artists have, and in certain frames, he seems to favor somewhat indistinct features rather than sharper, clearer ones. This might just be me being nit-picky, though. Overall, Dog Men might not have reached the heights of perfection for me, but it was a respectable entry into the Dresden graphic novel collection.
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