BILLIONAIRE ISLAND: CULT OF DOGS #1/ Story by MARK RUSSELL/ Pencils and Inks by STEVE PUGH/ Color by CHRIS CHUCKRY/ Letters by ROB STEEN/ Published by AHOY COMICS
When the first volume of Billionaire Island came out, I commented upon how surreal a book about the richest of the rich building their own island nation to escape a plague was in the days of the COVID-19 pandemic. I noted “the cruel irony is that Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, like many satirists, are having a hard time keeping pace with reality and the future depicted in Billionaire Island doesn’t seem quite as outrageous as the insanity of the real world today. ” Their follow-up series, Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs, has a similar problem, failing to be as outrageous as the real-world activities of one billionaire in the week before its release.
At the time of this writing, it has been less than a week since Elon Musk paid $44 billion dollars for Twitter, promising to restore free speech and credibility, right before banning a lot of people who made fun of him and changing the verification policy so that anyone could become a verified Twitter user for $8 a month. This, coupled with the firing of multiple employees in the quality control and moderation departments, has prompted millions to abandon the platform and multiple corporations to stop advertising on Twitter. I mention this because the story of Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs centers around the collapse of society in a not-too-distant future after a completely unqualified person is put in charge of managing the world’s biggest social media empire by virtue of inheritance. (There is also a scene of a billionaire escaping Earth in a penis-shaped rocket.)
Mark Russell’s satiric scalpel is as scathing as ever, despite current events being even more outrageous than his own vision of a future where corporate policies are dictated by the choices of a dog that looks good in a suit. Steve Pugh’s artwork is similarly sharp, with a number of sight-gags hidden in the backgrounds to match the dark comedy of Russell’s prose. The coloring contributions of Chris Chuckry and the lettering of Rob Steen provide the perfect finishing touches.
Elon Musk and his acolytes will find little to laugh at in Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs. The rest of us, however, will find it a welcome distraction from the collapse of society as we know it.
Billionaire Island: Cult of Dogs #1 releases on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.