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‘Good Dog’ is one of the best Batman stories of 2016

Dog bites Batman, film at 11

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David Finch/DC Comics
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Annuals, in comics, are pretty much what they sound like — an annual extra-long extra issue, outside the usual numbering scheme of the series. For a buck extra, readers are treated to an extra long, self-contained story, or, as is the case with last year’s Batman Annual #1, an anthology of five short stories themed loosely on the winter holiday season.

The first of those, “Good Boy,” has been nominated for Best Short Story in this year’s Eisner Awards, and it certainly deserves it. Written by Tom King, current Batman scribe, and drawn by David Finch, it’s a story about Alfred adopting a very, very traumatized dog. Why does he adopt it? I won’t say much more, because, thanks to The Beat, you can actually read all eight delightful pages of “Good Boy” for free.

“Good Boy” could be read as King delivering his own take on the origin story of Ace, the batfamily’s faithful bat-hound, but there’s so much more to the quick tale than you might guess from that description — Can people really change? Can trauma truly be healed? What the heck is even Kite Man’s deal?

Take two minutes and read “Good Boy,” it’s guaranteed to improve your Thursday.