Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1

Branded with an "All Ages" tag, this book is one for all ages -- older fans of the Walter Simonson era of "Thor", fans of "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", X-Men fans, or just Marvel comics enthusiasts. This book serves as a reminder that not every comic needs to be hard-coded into continuity, so put that slide rule down and grab a copy of this book, as it brings an enthusiastic story to readers of the Marvel Universe.

The Infinity Gems have evidently become a concern again, so Reed Richards summons the Inhumans for help, as he has determined one of the gems is on the moon. Unbeknownst to the humans of this issue, that gem has already been found by Lockjaw, the Inhumans canine ally. Once and for all (or at least for this story) we learn that Lockjaw is an Inhuman dog. What's that? Oh, my slide rule is showing? Sorry.

Anyways, Lockjaw, coming into contact with the Mind Gem learns that the Infinity Gems need to be redispursed, and sets out to do so. Lockjaw, being a smarter than average dog with astonishing teleportational abilities sets upon his task by recruiting a team of which each will be tasked with caring for one of the gems. This allows Eliopoulos to insert some snicker-worthy and even cute moments where the team is gathered. Additionally, recruiting the talents of Colleen Coover, Eliopoulos treats us to the origin of the new Throg (that's Thor-Frog or Frog-Thor as he is known here), once more allowing for slide rules to be put away.

Guara's art is a thing of beauty to take in. The pets are all believably rendered and functionally resilient as animals instead of anthropomorphized animals. Guara also does an admirable job of not only presenting the action in an all-ages worthy straight-forward format, but manages to utilize the layout of the page as a whole to be more engaging and inviting. Guara is admirably assisted in this endeavor by the marvelous colors of Chris Sotomayor. Once more, it bears mentioning that Marvel has planned ahead to make the coloring as integral to the book as the pencil work itself.

This is a title that has come out of nowhere and deserves some recognition as it takes less than Z-list characters and offers an enjoyable tale that can be shared with long-term fans and younger readers alike. Eliopoulos gives of these characters each a voice and a reason to join up, but among them Lockheed really touched me in a way I hadn't thought of much before now. Be sure to check out the generous twelve-page preview on CBR for a sample of what this issue holds in store.

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