By Kevin Mahadeo
The Pet Avengers assemble once again this March to save the Marvel Universe from certain doom in the new series LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS UNLEASHED by writer Chris Eliopoulos and artist Ig Guara.
This team first joined together in the 2009 limited series by Eliopoulos and Guara. The Inhuman known as Lockjaw gathered Frog Thor, Redwing, Hairball, Zabu, Lockheed and even the powerless Ms. Lion in a quest to find the Infinity Gems. The group ended up battling the villainous Thanos-on the White House lawn, no less-and saved the world before returning the gems to Reed Richards, who remained none the wiser of the pets' heroic deeds. The new story, which claims its territory on shelves March 17, continues the adventures of these most adorable Avengers.
Eliopoulos took some time from putting the pets through their paces to talk about the new book, what it was like forming a team of all animals, and the possibility of a future team-up with a certain Son of a Genius.
Marvel.com: What can readers expect to see in this sequel to LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS?
LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS UNLEASHED #1 cover by Ig Guara
Chris Eliopoulos: The first one was the gathering of the team. This one is going to be more of the "now that they are a team, what do they do?" There will be a much heavier focus on Frog Thor because the storyline will directly affect him to the point where the second issue is mostly just his story. But now that we know what they can do and how they work together, we're just going to send them out on an adventure.
Marvel.com: Are we going to see any new faces or is the team pretty much set as is?
Chris Eliopoulos: We're going to see new faces, but the team is staying the way it is. We're introducing a whole group of new characters than no one in the Marvel Universe has seen before and they're going to team up together.
Marvel.com: Can you say anything about more those characters?
Chris Eliopoulos: No. [Laughs] It's hard to explain. Thor is going to appear in the book, so that's a cool thing. But the new faces we're going to see directly relate to the storyline, so I don't want to give too much away.
Marvel.com: When you look at the first limited series, it featured a ton of animal characters from the Marvel Universe, even some that were rather obscure. Did you have to do a lot of research or did you kind of know about most of them already?
Chris Eliopoulos: Well, my editor got an intern to run around and get all the information on all the animals in the Marvel Universe and gave me a listing of them. So, I picked the ones I wanted and liked and thought would work well together as a team. I also picked some, like Devil Dinosaur, that were floating around and would be fun to get into the mix. So, it all came down to interns. We love them. [Laughs]
Marvel.com: What about writing animals do you enjoy?
Chris Eliopoulos: I loved giving them personalities that people hadn't seen before. Everyone just assumes that they had no feelings and thoughts, but as pet owners, you give your pets a personality or think what they're thinking. I thought it would be fun to do that and crawl back into animated
|The Pet Avengers|
Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite member of the Pet Avengers?
Chris Eliopoulos: It's tough. I really do love Frog Thor, but I really love the dynamics of Hairball and Ms. Lion. Just the idea that you have this dog with no powers whatsoever and the only reason he's there is because his owner's nephew is Spider-Man. He provides a lot of comic relief, which I tend to gravitate toward. So, I enjoy him as well.
Marvel.com: How did you approach giving the animals their personalities?
Chris Eliopoulos: When I got the list of possible animals that can be part of the group, I started to think about which personality types would play off each other. Obviously you've got the dog and the cat that fight with each other all the time and the dog is loveable but stupid and wants to have fun and play and have friends. Whereas the cat is just "I want to be loved when I want to be loved and leave me the hell alone every other day of the week." A lot of it also has to do with the stations of them. Lockjaw remains quiet, like his owner. He mimics Black Bolt in that they don't speak, even in this animal world. Frog Thor is the noble guy that, like Thor, is more of a hero. Zabu leaps in without thinking. Redwing [is] holier than thou because he's above it all. Lockheed originally was this quiet, dark character. It lent itself to the team dynamic we've seen in teams for years and years and years now.
Marvel.com: You mention Lockheed. Besides Lockjaw, he's been around in the public light for some time. How did you go about decide to make him into the character readers saw in the first limited series?
Chris Eliopoulos: I worked with Joss [Whedon] and [John] Cassaday on ASTONISHING X-MEN, so I had seen what had gone down. When he turned into sort of the bad guy that sold everyone out, I was really distraught about that. Then losing his best friend after all that, I thought it made a great character arc for somebody. You lose your best friend, you sell out
|LOCKJAW AND THE PET AVENGERS UNLEASHED #2 cover by Ig Guara|
Marvel.com: To close out, along with PET AVENGERS, you also write the FRANKLIN RICHARDS: SON OF A GENIUS books. When's the crossover happening?
Chris Eliopoulos: [Laughs] I would love to do it! I would love to draw a one-shot. I think it would be a blast. I'll have to see if we can make that happen.
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