Review: 'In the Doghouse of Justice', by Kyell Gold
Illustrated by Alexander Roman
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, August 2011
Trade paperback $15.95 (x + 197 pages)
Yes, this is another adult book. But it’s lighter than Gold’s usual X-rated fare. This is a collection of seven superhero stories featuring his League of Canids, three revised from earlier magazine versions and four original. “… and fortunately, mixing superpowers and sex is great fodder for comedy”, Gold says in his Foreword (p. ix).
Here are the adventurous and amorous exploits of History Channel (dingo), Blink Coyote, WonderWolf, Vicious Vixen, Red Lightning (red fox), MultiWolf, Ice Queen (arctic fox), Crypto (red fox), Scope (fennec), Power Coyote, Simpático (Hispanic grey fox), and Polly (wolf); a dozen superheroes, their foes, their public, and their significant others.
In the Doghouse of Justice is intended for an adult audience and contains sexual material of male/male, male/female and female/female nature. It is not for sale to persons under the age of 18.
“Vicious” introduces the team, especially Tanya, whose non-superhero identity is a professional model. Vicious Vixen is a non-super costumed russet fox hero with an arsenal of crime-fighting gimmicks, like Batman. She spends less time with her fellow heroes than with her fellow sexy models, particularly Ally (impala). The story contains a lot of commentary on the problems of costumed heroes – and villains – among anthro animals (pp. 5, 7):
The two [bank robber] raccoons probably didn’t know that not only had their images been on the still camera, but their scents had been captured when they came in the door, and when they went behind the counter.
The shimmering fabric of her costume made her no more than a shadow from the street below; the Neutra-Scent lining ensured that none of the armadillos would smell her through the open window.
“Don’t Blink” features Jake/Blink Coyote, whose power is instant teleportation. Frustratingly for his sex life with his girlfriend Marcia (rabbit), he tends to teleport uncontrollably at moments of extreme passion. The story is about how Blink, the new kid in the League, wants to get a super-villain of his own, and does – sort of. There is also a raven news reporter, Moxy Nightwing (p. 30):
Her beak clacked lightly as she talked. Like most avians, she wore no clothes, as all but the lightest garments made it difficult to fly. She had fingers at the end of her wings and clawed talons at the ends of her skinny black legs, but when she had her arms spread out, she looked like a person in a bird suit.
Rosco, a black wolf body-builder, is used to picking up gay partners for a date or two. But when the sexiest stud he has ever met, the first he could be serious with, turns out on their “Third Date” to be the secret identity of one of the League of Canids … well, where does a non-super guy go from there?
In “Stop the World”, Red Lightning is assigned to handle “some issues with white rabbits” in the far-Northern territory of Inqavit. How serious can a problem with small, non-sentient rabbits be? Well, these rabbits are savagely carnivorous, breathe fire, and there are a lot of them. This story would be G-rated.
History Channel’s power is to be able to read the history of anything he touches. In “Modern History”, he finds himself using his power in a highly unusual and erotic manner. This is the only tale that is heavily X-rated.
The protagonist of “Splitting Time” is Link Trenier (wolf), the husband of one of the League’s members, Polly (a polymorph), and this story is about the non-super spouses and knowing significant others of the superheroes. Not surprisingly, feelings of inadequacy are common among them. They have their own support group, which helps. But when super-villains try to use Link as an Achilles’ heel against his super-spouse, can a norm rise to the challenge?
“Sim & Scope” stars Simpático, whose power is to be able to read and influence the physiology and emotions of anyone he touches, and Scope, whose super-power is abnormally acute (even for a fennec) hearing. They are at the Ten-Spot night club to neutralize drunks and the effects of a drug dealer, but he uses new drugs that are alien to Sim’s experience. This is another story without any erotic elements.
It is misleading to describe these stories as “comedy”, because there is little outright humor in them. But they are less serious than Gold’s usual melodramas of erotic emotional angst. Aside from those that do have a few brief explicit sex scenes, the overall tenor of these seven linked stories is about as sexy as the average authorized Batman or Spider-Man paperback novel. So if you like costumed-hero adventures as well as anthropomorphic fiction, and don’t mind a few short sex scenes (where the comedy is), don’t miss In the Doghouse of Justice.