All you need is love in this epic ninth installment in the saga of Dog Man and friends.
In important local news, comic creators George and Harold would like to announce that they “TOTALLY got FAMOUS!” before diving into their “next tale of depth and maturity.” And this story, more so than previous adventures, delivers on that promise. Things go wrong right from the outset, when Dog Man is fired from the police force after wreaking doggy havoc at an award ceremony (a poignant rendering of an especially relevant adult fear). Li’l Petey and 80-HD’s haphazard plan to turn their canine friend feline in order to get him rehired conveniently tumbles into a smashing subplot involving Grampa Pete’s latest dastardly plan to destroy the city. Li’l Petey finally reconciles his irrepressible optimism with his father’s stubborn shield of hatred, precipitating the aptly named “Love vs. Hate” final battle. Darker themes, such as parental abandonment and death, are also touched upon, creating the story’s most powerful and moving moments. Indeed, the story generally represents the Dog Man series at its best. Whether through nifty Star Wars references, time-honored slapstick, self-aware wordplay, or plain old wackiness, Pilkey’s comic genius is out in full force. Illustrations, from intimate single-character squares to full-page action blocks, are vivid and lively, and the expressiveness in the cartoon faces only augments the delightful text.High-intensity, heartwarming, and, above all, hysterically funny. (“authors’ ” notes, art tutorials) (Graphic fantasy. 7-18)