The Avengers may have gone through a lot of changes in the last few years, but there's one team that will always stand together firmly on each of their four paws.
The Pet Avengers.
The team returns in October in a four-issue miniseries by writer Chris Eliopoulos, featuring a lot of fan-favorite charact... er... animals, including Frog Thor ("Throg"), Lockjaw, Zabu, Ms. Lion, Hairball, Redwing and Lockheed.
This time, the story centers around the team from Avengers Prime and what happens when they come up against Fing Fang Foom.
Newsarama talked with Eliopoulos to find out more.
Nrama: Chris, I don't think those of us who've read your Pet Avengers stories can ever get tired of Frog Thor. But you've had a few stories come out that some of our readers may have missed. Can you bring us up to speed on who the Pet Avengers are and what their status as of the end of your last comic?
Chris Eliopoulos: The Pet Avengers consists of the same animals we've grown to love: Lockjaw, Lockheed, Zabu, Hairball, Redwing, Ms. Lion and Throg. After their last adventure, they find themselves fighting crime in New York City. They use Central Park as a base...either because of the trees or easy access to muggers. They've really come together as a team, though it seems, they still have a tough time getting along. Much like my kids — they work great together, but some days just bicker and bicker.
Nrama: What's the general idea behind the story you're telling in this comic?
Eliopoulos: The short answer is Fin Fang Foom is back. But this time he's up to something that is causing global catastrophes. In the Dogs of Summer one shot this summer, we had a preview and the Avengers have come to stop Foom, but get incapacitated instead. They reach out to the only Avengers that can help...the Pet Avengers.
Nrama: So what Avengers characters are you getting to write, and is there anything you can tell us about what we'll see from those characters?
Eliopoulos: Using the Avengers Prime. Cap, Thor and Iron Man...but as you've never seen them before. Again, take a look at that preview. They get put in a tough spot and really do need someone to save them. Not a position they are used to, so it does throw them off their game.
Nrama: Is it a little different writing these characters in this situation? Or do they have the same basic voices?
Eliopoulos: The only difference is they croak a bit more in this story. Other than that, this is not a fantasy, they aren't Skrulls. These are the Avengers.
Nrama: How does Lockheed in particular react to dragons that want to take over the world?
Eliopoulos: That's the crux of this story. In the first series, we focused on Lockjaw and the quest for the Infinity Gems. In the second, Frog Thor was our focus. Now, it's time for all the Lockheed fans to have some fun. Lockheed has issues in this book. He's been known to betray people he cares about in the past and the idea of dragons from space on earth he can relate to. Which side does he take?
Nrama: Do the Avengers and The Pet Avengers really fight? (Isn't that an uneven battle, or is there something I'm underestimating on the pets' side?) Or is this more of a team-up issue?
Eliopoulos: The Pet Avengers have really bonded as a team and work great with each other. There will be a point along the line of this story where they do fight, but who are the ones you should be rooting for? I'll give a hint...since it's a Pet Avengers book, my money's on them. And for good measure, Lockjaw could just teleport them to the moon, right?
Nrama: Why do you think these Pet Avengers stories have such appeal among comics’ readers?
Eliopoulos: It's fun, I think. As much as most readers love the gripping, hard-hitting and continuity-driven comics that are a big part of what Marvel does, I think they also want a break once in a while and just have fun, read a good story and enjoy. I think also the fact that it's all-ages and parents can read these books with their kids and get real enjoyment out of it is something that makes everyone interested. And, come on, Ms. Lion is a hoot.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell fans about the Avengers vs. Pet Avengers?
Eliopoulos: If you like dragons, fun, animals and comics, this is the place. Also, the work that's come in from Ig Guara and Chris Sotomayor and Sotocolor has been really great! The art alone is worth the price of admission.