Every successful genre series inevitably spawns a collection of licensed tie-in products of varying quality, and Supernatural is no different, boasting a growing stable of fiction that expands on the ghostbusting adventures of the Winchester brothers.
Brian Wood’s (DMZ, Northlanders) The Dogs Of Edinburgh sees Sam and Dean drawn across the pond to investigate mysterious disappearances, ancient myths and tribes of seal-faced Innsmouth rejects at the request of an old flame from Sam’s college days, Emma of the Isles (yes, that’s her full name).
The story itself, while fairly predictable, is well paced and in keeping with the formulae and tropes of the television series.Transplanting the boys to foreign soil makes for a welcome twist, with Wood’s choice of antagonists reminding us that there’s plenty of mythology to explore beyond North America’s shores, and hardcore fans will no doubt feel rewarded by the glimpse into Sam’s college days that the titular two-part prologue to the main Emma Of The Isles story arc provides. Grant Bond’s artwork also complements the story perfectly; dark, stylish and certainly evocative of Scotland’s bleak, wilder reaches.
The dialogue, however, lacks the sharp, dark humour that so defines the Winchesters, and perhaps suffers for Wood’s overly restrained use of dialect on the part of the Scottish characters – a detail which, if handled well and not allowed to descend into parody, could have contributed a great deal in terms of emphasizing the “strangers in a strange land” theme that the story aims to evoke.
Dogs is ultimately a respectable addition to the Supernatural cannon, but falls short of being a must-read for any but the most die-hard fan.