Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed #4

The cast of these Lockjaw books keeps stretching and stretching. This issue sees the team extend a paw to Damiella, a unicorn. Damiella needs help to reclaim her Narnia-like kingdom from a malevolent force referred to as "The Golden One." The Pet Avengers eagerly plunge into the fray.

If nothing else, the book is beautifully-drawn. Guara brings a level of animal awesomeness that is necessary for a book like this to succeed. These animals belong to Ig Guara, regardless of who has ever drawn them before. Sotomayor's colors help, of course, so there really isn't too much more to say about such a well-appointed art team.

This issue wrapped everything up quite nicely, from Frog-Thor (can we still call him Throg?) gaining peace of mind on where he truly belongs to what exactly becomes of the Yeti. In typical all-ages fashion, though, every loose end is seemingly tucked away or trimmed off. The end result, here, is a story that is somewhat sterile.

Damiella's quest is true enough, but the threat never seems overly menacing as the true story is revealed as a lesson in introspection for many of the characters involved. It's very "After-School Special" that way.

I enjoyed the first "Pet Avengers" series, but each consecutive adventure since has lost me a little bit more. The characters seem to be cardboard cutouts of what they once were, or maybe I've just become so comfortable with them through Eliopoulos' writing that I take who they are for granted. I'd like to see a little more pizzazz dropped into this book. Yes, I know it's all ages, but that doesn't mean the stories can't be non-formulaic and ultimately not forgettable.

This book is still a far better read than some issues that came out this week (looking at you, "Patricia Briggs' Cry Wolf" and you too, "Magog") but it wasn't amazing. It is clear that Eliopoulos and Guara love these characters and Marvel has every intention of riding this title as far as it will go. Still, I'd like to see some more excitement -- some more bark, if you will -- for these characters.

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