Thundercats: Dogs Of War #4
WildStorm (November, 2003)
“Hand That Feeds You”
(or “We Traded The Lame Dog Pun For A Lame Story-Related Pun”)
WRITER/LETTERER: John Layman
PENCILER: Brett Booth
INKER: Al Vey
COLORING: WildStorm FX
SELECTED COVER ART: Wilce Portacio & Sandra Hope
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Kristy Quinn
EDITOR: Alex Sinclair
The Thundercubs come across an injured Mumm-Ra missing an arm. Why is he missing an arm? Because of the other traitor Doberlord was talking about last issue, which turns out to be Ma-Mutt. Why did Ma-Mutt turn on his master? Because he’s a dog. That’s it. Remember how we were always told that dog was man’s best friend and superloyal, and how Ma-Mutt was the only anything Mumm-Ra treated with respect and what passes for caring and just every single thing says that Ma-Mutt wouldn’t turn on Mumm-Ra? Well toss that out the door because he’s a dog and Jackalman’s a dog and they’re all evil! Seriously, does John Layman just really hate dogs? I mean, I’m not comfortable with big dogs or yappy dogs demanding attention but I don’t hate dogs. Dogs are pretty cool. Of course a friend of mine wrongly thinks I hate the entire animal kingdom, don’t you Sean?
Anyway, the Mumm-Ra that started the plan was actually one of Doberlord’s generals after Ma-Mutt attacked Mumm-Ra. With everyone else captured it’s only the one-armed Mumm-Ra and the Thundercubs left. However, Wilycat has a plan. I should note this appears to be the bigger troublemaker of the two brothers, so this can only end in good. I’m not sure for whom, mind you. Even in shadow Wilycub looks scared at the very idea and even Mumm-Ra, despite having known him for not even a full hour looks concerned. I’m getting Precocious flashbacks and Wilycat doesn’t appear to be a mad scientist genius while still in grade school.
There’s also a sequence where Cheetara (and later the other Thundercats) and the Mutants would rather fight each other than actually come up with a plan. Given what the Mutants did to Cheetara back in The Return I could understand it, but it’s never referenced once, even as a passing notation so it just comes off as them being stupid. Jackalman and Ma-Mutt show up to continue Doberlord’s plan to make them think Mumm-Ra himself betrayed them but also to, as the queen put it, pour salt into the wounds. And he confirms the only reason Jackalman and Ma-Mutt are helping the War Dogs is that they’re all canines. Like I said, Layman hates dogs.
The thrust of the story however, is the conversation between the tortured Lion-O and the leader of the Lizarians, who is also chained to a device and tortured. The lack of creativity is strong with this section, kids. His name is Komodomar, son of Komodomorrison, who is the lizard king of Lizaria. Forced Jim Morrison reference aside (and I did just confirm that) it gets worse. Lizaria was a peaceful planet until the War Dogs struck and captured him. Some prophecy says Komodomar will lead them to some promised land so keeping him alive means Doberlord can force them to work for him, which at least makes sense for the first time this issue.
We also get a list of planets they’ve been part of the attack on: the bug planet of Buglaria, the “kangarealm” (guess what kind of animal these were based on) of Marsupion-4, and the rabbit people of Bunn-Dar. The last one hurts worse because Layman is obviously looking to Plundarr, the home of the Mutants. Lion-O’s been faking just how weak he is from the torture (which Komodomar could tell while the egotistical War Dogs couldn’t) and he starts fighting his bonds despite his new friend’s belief that there’s no stopping their enemies. Now if only Lion-O’s team was acting as heroic instead of giving in to their biases. We do learn that Mumm-Ra and the Mutants were each kept in their respective headquarters with a magic force field, so now we know why they did nothing for fifteen years but at this point I stopped caring.
This story continues to disappoint. The new cats are interesting but for the most part I don’t care much for this story. It’s too dark, imaginative in some ways but only just barely and unimaginative in others. The Morrison reference was the best they had and it was groan-worthy. One more issue to go but by now you should know this is a comic to avoid.