I just read the first issue of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, and I have to say, I really liked it. I wasn’t sure what I was in store for when I first ordered it, but I can safely say, it was $3 well spent.
Throg (Frog Thor) is really the character that really made this issue. He is the first “teammate” that Lockjaw goes to after he finds one of the Infinity Gems. Apparently Lockjaw has decided that animals are better for finding the gems than the humans. Throg’s whole backstory is just what you’d expect from a Marvel Universe origin. Bad things happen to a good man who is then rewarded with superpowers; after being turned into a frog. Throg himself is just great. He speaks for Lockjaw, jabbering on with the other animals as he convinces each of them to join the cause and journey to find the gems. Just like Thor, he speaks with lots of “thee”s and “thou”s, and “wouldst”s and “dost”s.
Yes, all the animals in this series talk. This would have bothered me before. But after reading 17 novels of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries in a row, where half the characters are animals that can talk to each other but humans can’t understand, it was easy to accept. For all we know, our animals could be talking about us now, and we’d never know it. Well, everyone but Lockjaw talks. As I mentioned above, Throg does the talking, as Lockjaw speaks to him telepathically. Each animal that is picked up does have a connection to a hero in the Marvel Universe, but knowing who they are doesn’t really seem to matter. Enough backstory is given for each animal that you get a general idea, and it’s really more about the animals personalities than their hero counterparts.
Each animal’s personality really reflects their species. Redwing, a hawk, at first refuses Lockjaw and Throg’s request, as he is a bird, and obviously superior to lower animals that can’t fly. Why would he lower himself to work with them. Some good old fashion flattery gets him to change his mind. My favorite, and if you knew me it would be obvious, is Hairball. He’s the cat. And he acts just like a cat. When asked to join, he asks if he can eat Redwing. He thinks all dogs are stupid (excluding Lockjaw of course), and has a basic, all around attitude. And for a cat with an attitude, he needs a foil, and Ms. Lion, the little shaggy dog with an even smaller brain and no superpower affiliation, fits the bill perfectly. He’s obviously in the series for comedy relief, it seems to be mostly at Hairball’s expense.
Even though Throg is cool, and Lockheed the dragon has always been a favorite character of mine, it’s Hairball that sells this title for me. His total catitude is just so awesome! I really like that this title is not about animals being superhero clones of their masters. It’s about animals acting just as you’d expect them to act if they could talk, and transport to anyplace, wield a large hammer or use kinetic energy superpowers. You don’t need to know anything about their masters either. Everything you need to enjoy the issue is given.
I highly recommend picking up this first issue. Kids will love the interaction between the animals, and so will animal lovers. The simple quest plot will be easy for kids to follow. And it’s a lot of fun. What other reasons do you need?