You know, there already was a Legion of Super-Pets over at DC Comics, so why has it taken this long for something like "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers" to show up at Marvel? It's such a simple but fun concept, with all the various pet sidekicks teaming up, that I seriously wonder if Chris Eliopoulos was able to keep from giggling to himself as he wrote the scripts.
When I read the first issue, I was a tiny bit dubious about the plot involving the Pet Avengers tracking down the all-powerful Infinity Gems, but here it seems to make more sense. It's such a hugely powerful series of items that they're going after, it makes the nature of the slightly silly protagonists all the funnier due to the contrast between objects and seekers. And second, it lets Eliopoulos go for broke when it comes to, well, just about everything in this story. Surprise animal guest-stars! The ability to jump through space and time in search of other Infinity Gems! And an appearance by possibly one of the stupidest characters ever created for Marvel Comics! (I'll leave you to wonder just whom that might be.)
I also love that of all of the animal characters, the one who sticks out the most is Ms. Lion, the improbably-named male dog. Eliopoulos has wisely made Ms. Lion the not-very-smart one in the group, and every time Ms. Lion jumps in with a comment or has to do something distasteful, I start laughing. The other animals get their own moments in the spotlight, with an especially poignant moment for Lockheed, but Ms. Lion steals the show every single time.
Ig Guara's pencils and Chris Sotomayor's colors blend together nicely. It's a soft, almost airbrushed look to the end product, and that's just what a book like "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers" needs. Guara's best when it comes to action; Ms. Lion jumping all over the panel upon discovering a new teammate is energetic just to look at, and Frog Thor forever clinging to Lockjaw's head is so silly it just works. Best of all, when the villain shows up this episode, it looks dangerous and monstrous, a good contrast to the softer, sweeter animals that populate the comic.
As a limited-series side trip, "Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers" is just the right concept. I don't think we'd want to see it as an ongoing series, don't get me wrong, but this is enough fun so far that I already wouldn't mind a return to the Pet Avengers team down the line. This is more entertaining than it deserves to be, and in a good way.