REVIEW: ‘Battlepug: The Compendium’

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s been a while since a fantasy book has fully captured my attention. I remember when I was younger and being mesmerized by the likes of the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series. I haven’t read too many fantasy comic books, so I was quite sure what to expect when reading the Battlepug compendium. However, the title of the series was enough to capture my attention. A fierce warrior riding a giant pug, what more could anyone ask for? The series as a whole completely blended humor, fantasy, plot development, and spectacular characters in a way I rarely see anymore with any piece of literature. It brought me memories of my childhood when I would watch shows like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

The Battlepug series, which was published by Image Comics, is written and drawn by Mike Norton. It features coloring by Allen Passalaqua and lettering by Chris Crank. The story is centered around the last Kinmundian who seeks revenge against the evil Catwulf. Catwulf is responsible for the destruction of his village and the death of his mother. During his quest for revenge, he stumbles upon a creature known as The Battlepug and meets several friends who also seek Catwulf’s death. However, he must be cautious; not all the people he meets are truly friendly. The story of the Kinmundian is being told by Moll, who was asked by her two pug companions to tell them a story.

From “Battlepug” Compendium – Mike Norton (Writer and Artist), Allen Passalaqua (Color), Chris Crank (Lettering)

First thing’s first, I have to give major props to the concept of the Battlepug as a whole. While I was doing research about the series and the people who worked on it, I discovered that Mike Norton actually created these characters for T-shirt designs. To create these characters for one thing and make it possible to develop an entire comic series is truly incredible. I’m a certified dog person, so saying that the companion to the main character being a pug is the most badass thing I’ve ever seen may be a bit biased. But it’s something that I’ve never seen before. Any time the titular character has a canine companion, it’s usually something ferocious like a wolf. This comic left me wanting more stories with this duo. And I also want to adopt all the pugs now.

One of the many things I appreciate about the series is the level of humor it adds. It provides a nice break from the action but still adds to the story. A lot of the humor comes from Moll’s pugs Colfax and Mingo. They’re so intrigued by the story that Moll is telling them that they sometimes lose themselves in it. A lot later in the series, Mingo is so amazed by what transpired that Colfax says, “Poor little dummy didn’t see that coming at all”. And other times, the physical comedy they pull off is just hilarious.

From “Battlepug” Compendium – Mike Norton (Writer and Artist), Allen Passalaqua (Color), Chris Crank (Lettering)

During the 4th chapter of the compendium, we see the Kinmnudian in a tough situation. A friend asks for his help to clear his name from an imposter. His friend tells him that the person impersonating him shows up as the final champion in a wrestling tournament. The announcers for the event are none other than Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Well, the characters were mere inspirations of them, but it was still an awesome easter egg to notice. Now, people who have seen any broadcast of Monday Night Raw, one of WWE’s flagship shows, can really appreciate this easter egg.  I’m a huge wrestling fan and noticing this brought me even more joy to read. They perfectly captured the essence of the famous announcing duo. It took me back to watching wrestling in the early 2000s. The way the characters and the setting that they’re in are drawn also adds to this sense of nostalgia.

From “Battlepug” Compendium – Mike Norton (Writer and Artist), Allen Passalaqua (Color), Chris Crank (Lettering)

I also really have to compliment the storytelling aspect of the comic series. There are a handful of stories that can fully develop all of their central characters perfectly. The Kinmundian goes through the classical hero’s journey but finds ways to make it unique. It doesn’t take itself too seriously trying to check off all the components of what makes a good hero. It comes off very natural but it does manage to bring that cheesy 90s cartoon hero aspects, which is definitely a plus from me. Every character in this series has a purpose, even though for some it might not be so evident when they’re introduced. For me, this is on par with storytelling from other books and tv shows like Avatar: The Last AirbenderThe Legend of KorraPercy Jackson and the Olympians, and Harry Potter. 

Like I said before, I was quite sure where the story was going to go. I had never really read anything like this before but now I’m more than glad that I did. The Battlepug compendium is a must-have for any lover of dogs, in particular, those who love pugs, as well as anyone looking for a fantastic fantasy story. As an added perk, there are initial sketches of characters and settings that are included after the main story. There are also some amazing drawings of the series’ characters from other artists in the comic book community.

Rating: 5/5 Battlepugs! 

Battle Pug: The Compendium
5

TL;DR

Like I said before, I was quite sure where the story was going to go. I had never really read anything like this before but now I’m more than glad that I did. The Battlepug compendium is a must-have for any lover of dogs, in particular, those who love pugs, as well as anyone looking for a fantastic fantasy story. As an added perk, there are initial sketches of characters and settings that are included after the main story. There are also some amazing drawings of the series’ characters from other artists in the comic book community.