Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers
Out of continuity and out of step, Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers is half Marvel Comics nerd jerk-off and half one of the best kid’s comics ever. More like a premise created by five awesome 8 year olds with their favorite animal toys or a story in Marvel’s upcoming Strange Tales MAX series than a real comic, Reed Richards visits Black Bolt to discuss collecting all of the Infinity Gems, while a drooling Lockjaw overhears and decides to gather the best of the best from the animal kingdom (and one regular, cross dressing dog), entrusting each gem to a different heroic beast.
Until I walked into my local comic shop and saw Lockjaw on the “Kid’s” side of the store, I didn’t even think of the comic was made for children. The Marvel Adventures header of most “all age” comics published by the comics giant is absent here, giving it a chance to actually be an all-ages book. Without the spandex clad muscle dudes and super-titties busting out of oh-so-small costumes, Lockjaw also has the opportunity to truly be for everyone of all ages, breaking down the gender biases inherent in stuff for kids too.
The teleporting dog, kinetic cat, alien dragon, proud falcon, confused puppy and lightning god powered frog are unlikely teammates, the group is diverse not only in species but in Marvel history. Featuring animal/non-human villains, the bad guys are also from the far reaches of the MU, including Giganto (the underwater one, not Mole Man’s pet), and recent fan favorite Devil Dinosaur, complete with classic Kirby finger count variations.
I’m a pretty easy sell on whacky Marvel shit, “cameo” comics and things like Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E.-- silliness mixed with characters only for us in the know. While Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers is one of those books in it’s own way, it’s also just a fun comic that if were sitting stapled together at your local indie “graphic novel” store, fresh from Kinko’s, you’d buy it. Animals with super powers fighting monsters, isn’t this what comics are all about?