By Dustin Cabeal
Beast Wagon has been a hell of a ride. A story set in a zoo in which all the animals talk like people in their thirties but then filled with so many political, social and cultural comments that it’s hard to digest everything in one reading.
For instance, this issue deals with war, casualties of war, the institutionalism of prison, animal cruelty, and refugees/immigration. I also doubt that I’m even mentioning all of the themes touched upon in this issue. Usually, I would keep going with the story, but it’s the final issue, and the shit has hit the fan. That’s all you need to know. Writer Owen Michael Johnson wraps up this story the only way he can. There’s even two very meta references, one for the title and the other for the conclusion itself. I’ll admit that parts of this issue were underwhelming, but there is a reason and a purpose for that. Doesn’t make them more spectacular, but it’s also something I wouldn’t knock the story for either. In particular, the best moment of the story comes from the Lion’s story.
The star of the show continues to be John Pearson’s artwork which is pushed to the limit regarding violence and realism. There’s a lot of chaos, death, and destruction in this final issue of the series and Pearson makes it all look glorious. It’s not for the faint of heart because you have to remember that all of this is happening at a zoo.
With this being the final issue it’s hard to say much more about it. Would I like to describe the art more? Sure, but then I would have to tell you what about certain scenes were brilliant and that would spoil them. This isn’t an issue to be spoiled, but rather experienced. It’s a fitting conclusion to one of the strangest fucking comics I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
Beast Wagon Finale
Writer: Owen Michael Johnson
Artist: John Pearson
Letterer: Colin Bell
Publisher: Changeling Studios