REVIEW: 'Stray Dogs' #3 by Tony Fleecs, Trish Forstner, and Brad Simpson

Under the farmhouse, something rots. And no matter how well they’re trained, dogs will be dogs. Now they’ve uncovered something that can’t just be buried again.


Writer: Tony Fleecs
Artist: Trish Forstner, Brad Simpson
Layouts: Tone Rodriguez
Flatter: Lauren Perry
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 21, 2021
Cover Price: $3.99

★★★★☆ (4/5)

With each issue another layer of the mystery is revealed, another piece of evidence is uncovered. Issue three of 'Stray Dogs' gets a little darker as another dog confirms how dangerous the man that's caring for them is. One of the best suspense thrillers in comics continues with another nail-biting installment. 

In the last issue, Roxanne remembered her owner. The memory of her murder confirmed what Sophie had been alleging happened to her owner. There was little doubt their new owner was a serial killer but they still needed to prove it. Not all the dogs believe Sophie, they think she's stirring trouble as evidenced by Rusty being disciplined for snooping in his private office. Time is of the essence, as the dogs worry their owner will find another victim. This leads to more investigating by Rusty, Sophie, Roxanne, and Victor as they stumble across mounds of dirt and a hole in ground. Is that a grave?

Tony Fleecs keeps the tension high as the dogs get closer to the truth and the memories begin to return to some of the dogs. It seems their memory just needs to be sparked for the details of how they ended up there on the farm to flood back. Those details vary from dog to dog but it's all gruesome and shocking. The revelations just confirm Sophie's claims but despite trying to reach out for help, the dogs are taught a harsh lesson in a heart-breaking climax. 

As grim as the story is unfolding, the art continues to be incredible. Trish Forstner's designs under regular circumstances would be part of a joyous fun all-ages animal adventure. Here, the Don Bluth-inspired designs make the horrible events of this thriller all the more horrific as we see these adorable dogs live in fear. Brad Simpson's colors remain somewhat muted and matches the mood in more earth tones than outright bright colors except for happier flashbacks. The art is so engaging that it's hard to look away even when things take a dark turn. 

'Stray Dogs' continues to bring the chills in this seriously suspenseful mystery story. It's tense without being gratuitous and it's impossible not to root for the safety of these dogs. Their owner is a possible serial killer and every issue brings one shocking turn after another. It's one of this years' best thrillers and should not be slept on.  



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