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Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1

Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2009
By: Matthew J. Brady

Chris Eliopolous
Ig Guara, Colleen Coover
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, May 13.

What a fun idea. Animal versions of superheroes can make for good times, considering the cuteness factor and the inherent humor in the way they deal with regular humans. DC has flirted with the idea here and there, with the "Krypto the Superdog" cartoon and occasional appearances of the Legion of Super-Pets, but this is, as far as I know, Marvel's first attempt at the idea (unless you count Peter Porker, Spider-Ham). And it makes for a pretty enjoyable comic, although much of the fun remains to be had, since this issue is mostly a "getting the team together" story.

That means we get a motivation (the Infinity Gems must be found and kept from evil hands, so Lockjaw is getting some animal pals together to do so), and origin stories of some of the members as our favorite giant teleporting dog travels around recruiting teammates. These include Throg, a frog version of Thor; Lockheed, Kitty Pryde's pet dragon; Redwing, Falcon's, um, falcon; and Hairball, Speedball's similarly-powered cat. There's also a non-powered hanger-on in the form of Ms. Lion, Aunt May's dog (who is male, and thus a transvestite of sorts). Everybody's personality is established: Redwing is haughty and convinced of avian superiority, Lockheed is sad to the point of being near-suicidal after the loss of his home planet and Kitty, Hairball is obnoxious and proud (that is, he's a cat), and Ms. Lion is a near-brainless goofball. Throg, on the other hand, is noble and good, and along with Lockjaw, seems to be the leader of the team; we even get to see his origin story, which is ably illustrated by Colleen Coover, who provides some excellent images of fightin' frogs.

It remains to be seen how well writer Chris Eliopolous can pay off what he has set up here, but here's hoping he can do so, using a team of lower-tier characters to explore the varied locales of the Marvel Universe and maybe even face a real, world-altering threat. Artist Ig Guara seems to be up to the task, giving a real expressiveness to all the characters (especially Lockjaw, the only member of the cast who doesn't talk) and filling the backgrounds with plenty of detail in settings as differentiated as Central Park, the Xavier estate, the Inhumans' home in the Blue Area of the moon, and the Savage Land.

It should be great fun to see this story play out, and here's hoping for some good animal action and more interspecies comedy. Marvel could have a sleeper hit on their hands, so don't miss out.








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