By Chris Eliopoulos (Writer), Ig Guara (Pencils), and Chris Sotomayor (Colors)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: The first issue of Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers was a solid serving of all-ages fun. While the pacing was a bit off (Throg’s drawn out origin hurt the whole book), I found myself impressed by how well the Pet Avengers concept was introduced and put into motion (even if the team assembly stuff was about as generic as it gets).
The Story: Lockjaw and the rest of the Pet Avengers try to locate the Infinity Gem that’s somewhere in the Savage Land. Lucky for them, the noble Zabu, the Saber-toothed tiger, is willing to give them some help. Unlucky for them though is that, at one point, they must deal with the Devil Dinosaur…
What’s Good: The second chapter of Pet Avengers is a great example of an all-ages comic done right. It’s fast, it’s funny, it looks very nice, and it does a lot of cool things with it’s cast of talking Marvel animals. The very best thing about Pet Avengers #2 though, is that it’s absolutely loaded with a personality that every member of the creative team helps to develop.
Chris Eliopoulos once again does a fine job of handling a concept that could easily fall apart because of how silly the whole idea sounds. The second part of the Pet Avengers’ quest to obtain the Infinity Gems is quite funny, but it’s also full of action, adventure, and a sense of importance. Thanks to Eliopoulos’ decision to have the pets feel a sense of duty and responsibility, it’s easier for the reader to have some emotional investment in the story beyond “oh look how cute all those animals are!” (or something like that). Also, Eliopoulos gives each Avenger a distinct voice and that contributes to a team dynamic that is a lot of fun to read about.
As for the visuals, Ig Guara does an outstanding job of giving the animals a wide range of emotion. It goes a long way towards getting the reader to invest in the Pet Avengers’ quest. Guara also creates a number of impressive action sequences that some slam, bang, explosion superhero action to shame. Also, how cool does Throg look?! Special mention must also go to Chris Sotomayor for vibrant color work that does a heck of a lot for the lively tone of Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #2.
What’s Not So Good: Criticizing the latest Pet Avengers comic is both very easy and extremely difficult. It’s easy because the book lacks depth, has a few jokes that fall flat (Poop jokes? Sure they get a laugh out of kids, but c’mon…), and a couple of panels that just look odd (why does it seem like it looks like Hairball is ALWAYS yelling? – If a cat could yell, I mean). It’s difficult because Pet Avengers #2 does exactly what it needs to do extremely well. And also… I really don’t want to sound like a pretentious prick. but it’s obviously not something as deep or complex as something like, Unwritten. But then again, it doesn’t have to be…
Conclusion: I know I’m not going to change any minds that aren’t open to giving Pet Avengers #2 a chance… But it is seriously worth giving a chance. It’s good, mostly clean (remember that there’s poop jokes) fun.
Grade: B+ (on the All-Ages scale)