I never thought that “Pet Avengers” would have more than an initial mini-series worth of ideas behind it, but it’s nice to see Chris Eliopoulos proving me wrong. With the property’s third outing, “Avengers vs. the Pet Avengers,” we’re at the point now where you can see the ending coming but it honestly doesn’t matter because it’s so sweet and silly and goofy and fun.
For those not reading “Avengers vs. Pet Avengers,” with dragons attacking the planet and the core Avengers incapacitated, it’s unsurprisingly fallen to the Pet Avengers to save the day. Eliopoulos doesn’t take that idea too far, either; he keeps in mind that these are animals that for the most part aren’t ultra-powerful (well, maybe Throg) but they’ve all got a lot of heart.
It’s once again Ms. Lion (Aunt May’s ill-named dog) that steals the show, though. His general cluelessness but good spirit makes every scene put a smile on your face, and Ms. Lion is truly the heart and soul of the team. Eliopoulos cheats a tiny bit, here, keeping from the reader the important information on why it’s right to support Fin Fang Foom (thanks to cutting to the regular Avengers’ point of view at that crucial moment, so all we get are woofs and meows). Since it’s to keep the surprise until the next issue, where we’ll no doubt learn how Fin Fang Foom and company are really saving the planet from utter destruction, it’s easy to forgive. Instead you can just lean back and watch Hairball and Redwing attack Spider-Man, or Mockingbird face-plant when making the mistake of charging at a dog who can teleport.
Ig Guara’s art continues to work well for the “Pet Avengers” comics, with a clean and bouncy style that adds to the overall cuteness. How this comic hasn’t spawned a series of Throg toys, I have no idea, because plush frogs in Thor’s outfit that look this cute would sell by the billions. I’m still not sure which looks sillier here, Ms. Lion’s look of befuddlement or Fin Fang Foom’s traditional purple underpants, but Guara makes them both work.
“Avengers vs. the Pet Avengers” is hardly high art, but it’s thoroughly entertaining. If you aren’t reading these comics yet, buy the whole lot, settle down in front of the fireplace with a mug of spiced cider, and have a great winter evening reading them all. What started out as a joke as turned into a book to look forward to.