By Carolyn Cocca and Anna Cocca Goodman
[Note: A longer version of this was originally published in 2015. This shorter re-post is in honor of Avengers: Infinity War. Check out Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, a four-part series in which Marvel super-pets battle Thanos with heart and strength and humor…and win :-]
There are three main Pet Avengers stories: Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers (2009), Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed (2010), and Avengers vs. Pet Avengers (2010-11), by Chris Eliopoulos (w), Ig Guara (a), and Chris Sotomayor (c). These are on Marvel Unlimited and collected in trade paperbacks as well.
Here is a conversation my eight-year-old daughter Anna and I had about the series. We both highly recommend it.
Carolyn: Who are the Pet Avengers?
Anna: Lockjaw, Lockheed, Hairball, Redwing, Zabu, Throg, and Ms. Lion.
Carolyn: Do you know who their owners are?
Anna: Lockheed’s owner is Kitty Pryde [of the X-Men], Lockjaw’s owner is Medusa [of the Inhumans] but I first saw him with the new Ms. Marvel. Redwing’s is Falcon. Redwing always talks about Falcon. Throg uses fancy language like Thor…
[She takes out my ipad, goes to Marvel Unlimited, and reads:] “Lockheed is an alien dragon; Redwing, the noble bird of the hero Falcon; Zabu is the loyal sabertooth partner to Ka-zar; Hairball, a cat gifted with kinetic powers; Ms. Lion, a well…um…dog. And I am Frog Thor, but thou may call me Throg.”
Carolyn: What is their mission [in Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers]?
Anna: To find gems and destroy them.
Carolyn: Yes, they need to keep the Infinity Gems from Thanos. [She looks blank]. The big purple guy?
Anna: Right. I like this one the best because you meet everybody. They’re all different and they’re a good team.
Carolyn: Avengers vs. Pet Avengers is a little different, though.
Anna: They are on opposite sides of a battle. The Pets work with the dragons and Fin Fang Foom, not the Avengers. The Pet Avengers are right to work with the dragons. And also, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are frogified. Iron Man keeps saying, “I want my armor!”
Carolyn: What about Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers Unleashed?
Anna: They’re looking for Throg, and they find him in another land, a dream world. And they meet a Yeti, who Ms. Lion names Hairball 2 and that makes Hairball mad, and a unicorn named Damiella. They save the world.
Carolyn: What do you like most about Pet Avengers?
Anna: Hairball and Ms. Lion are funny together. Cats and dogs never get along unless they grew up together. Ms. Lion’s kind of annoying, but funny. Like when they’re in the water, Hairball says, “Hate the water, hate the dog, hate, hate, hate. Get me out of here, don’t like water, must get away from water and dog. Dumb dog.” But then Ms. Lion saves her. And Hairball saves Ms. Lion too. On one cover, all the pets look brave, and Ms. Lion is drooling. And she, meaning Ms. Lion, is on the cover of many of the books. All of the pets look ready to defend themselves and they look heroic. While they’re saving the Earth, Ms. Lion pees!
Carolyn: Ms. Lion’s not a she…
Anna: Ms. Lion is a boy dog, but he’s called Ms. Lion.
Carolyn: If you were to describe Pet Avengers to your friends, what would you say?
Anna: They’re animals, and they’re funny and heroic. Both boys and girls would like it. Pet Avengers–Assemble!
Carolyn Cocca is author of the Eisner-Award Winning Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation, and Professor in the Department of Politics, Economics, and Law at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury.