WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Lockjaw #1 by Daniel Kibblesmith and Carlos Villa, and Doctor Strange: Damnation #1 by Donny Cates, Nick Spencer and Rod Reis, in stores now.
It's not easy being the Marvel Universe's foremost super-dog.
After the events of Inhumans: Judgment Day and the Black Bolt series, Lockjaw's own miniseries is the place to go if you're looking for the next chapter in the Inhumans saga. But won't find Medusa here, nor Kree aliens or mad would-be kings. Just Lockjaw, D-Man (yes, Demolition Man) and puppies. And who doesn't love puppies?
As the miniseries begins, Lockjaw leaves the comfort of his home on the Moon to pay a visit to Earth after receiving a dire message. It turns out that Lockjaw wasn't the only pup of his litter -- he has brothers and sisters out there, and his siblings are in danger, their blissful lives threatened by sentient and technologically advanced hamsters (yes, sentient and technologically advanced hamsters). The miniseries will delve into Lockjaw's origins, a fact that when combined with a few other recent Marvel releases, have us wondering whether Marvel is set to change what we think we know about Lockjaw... again.
Lockjaw's origin was changed once before. When he first appeared in 1965, Lockjaw was introduced as the teleporting dog of the royal family of Inhumans. He was massive and cute all at the same time, a fan-favorite whose barks spoke volumes about his relationship with the rest of his family. However, in 1983's The Thing #3 by John Byrne, Jim Shooter and Ron Wilson, the character received a bit of a retcon. Lockjaw revealed to Ben Grimm that he could actually talk, and that he once used to be human -- that it was his exposure to the Terrigen Mists that transformed him into a dog.
The revelation was a bit controversial, with some longtime fans voicing their disapproval over the twist. The retcon would be undone eight years later, in Peter David and Larry Stroman's X-Factor #71. There, it was revealed that Lockjaw's revelation was nothing but a prank concocted by Inhuman royals Karnak and Gorgon, at the expense of Ben Grimm.
Lockjaw's true origin as a dog was once again given credence in 2017's Black Bolt #5, by the creative team of Saladin Ahmed, Frazer Irving and Christian Ward. The opening page of that issue showed a flashback of Lockjaw as a young puppy, the narration confirming that he was born from a female dog before forming a powerful bond with Blackagar Boltagon.
However, an Easter egg (or was it foreshadowing?) in the recent Doctor Strange: Damnation #1 has called back into question Lockjaw's origin. Near the end of the issue, a ghost dog enters the home of Stephen Strange's assistant Wong, in search of help. In the background, an episode of Jeopardy plays on television, offering a rather curious clue. "This teleporter, long thought to be a dog, may actually be a--" but before Alex Trebek can finish his question, Strange's ghost dog companion Bats interrupts him, saying he knows the answer. Now, unless there is another teleporting dog somewhere in the Marvel Universe, it's pretty clear that the answer is Lockjaw -- but what is the rest of Trebek's question?
Since the X-Factor retcon occurred almost three decades ago, it's intriguing to see Lockjaw's "other" origin be brought back into the fold now. With the Black Bolt #5 origin offering conflict, it just might be that the timing of the Lockjaw miniseries is no coincidence at all. With other dogs involved in the story, perhaps we will learn a whole lot more about the Inhumans' favored pet. Perhaps, by the story's end, we will truly know, once and for all, Lockjaw's definitive origin.