Now the long hellatus comes... so time to look back at our last Supernatural comic book arc!
The Dogs of Edinburgh is the fourth comic miniseries tie-in for Supernatural. It is another prequel story, covering the time when Sam was at Stanford. To follow the graphic novels' backstory for Supernatural from the beginning, enjoy my narration and review of the first three books, Origins, Rising Son and Beginning's End! Now, let's rejoin the hunt in The Dogs of Edinburgh!
I am glad I went back and looked at these again. I surprised myself because once upon a time I ranked this arc as the second best of them. Since then, "Rising Son" has grown better in my view while this one... is much weaker.
By far the greatest flaw is that this comic wants to be an examination and focus on Sam (Dean doesn't even show up until past the halfway point) yet it completely misreads his character. Sam acts far more like a school child who has never been on a hunt or talked to a girl in this comic.
Even if we didn't have all of the "childhood flashback" episodes in the show at this point, there were enough just in the first six seasons to establish that Sam by college would be undisturbed by strange happenings and have some confidence with women.
It's especially a shame because there is a very rich story to be told here from this chapter in Sam's life. Even if you set aside all the other comic issues, it is very clear just from the opening moments in the pilot episode that Sam is at odds with his family, and he doesn't want to be a hunter - that he longs for normalcy. The trip to England, especially during his freshman or sophomore year at Stanford is a great opportunity to examine this conflict within him. The second comic arc, "Rising Son" did a bit of this with John trying to give the boys a normal life and finding himself getting sucked back into hunting as well. What would it be like for Sam to experience something similar? Only this time a fetching young woman plays the role of temptress compounding his struggles?
The comic could have been really daring and even revealed that maybe this trip is when Sam got to meet Jessica. Then you could have a juicy love triangle through the comic with the exotic Emma pulling Sam back into the hunting life, while the more ordinary Jessica provides the allure of normality. At least that would have been something new and not a repeat of a second season episode.
I also can't help but think how much stronger season 12 would have been had Toni been replaced with a lost love for Sam. For one thing, there probably would have been less torture. The bedroom scene would have made more sense. We might have had actual tension through the season wondering if the spark she and Sam shared so long ago would win out over the British Men of Letters directives. You know... like how they wanted to do with Mary towards the end but just... made no sense and was horrifying?
Oh well. The water color covers to these issues are amazing! I wish we could get more Supernatural work from that artist.
Use WFB's Book Reviews as your guide to all of Supernatural's tie-in novels (graphic and traditional books)!
Check out my previous interviews and reviews to learn more about storytelling in and around the Supernatural universe!
What did you think of Sam's adventure? Was I being too critical of their version of Sam or do you agree that these graphic novels didn't fairly represent Sam's experiences in his childhood? What do you think of these monsters, and Sam's hunting partner? Share your thoughts below in the comments!
You can purchase The Dogs of Edinburgh at Amazon.com: