The PoP! Stars narrow it down to the cream of the crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.
Humans had animal companions ever since the dawn of history. Most superhumans are not much different than us human folks and among other traditions, surrounded themselves with pets. Some of those pets have superpowers themselves. Let’s see which of the animal kingdom rank as the best of them.
6. Zabu (Lord Ka-Zar’s ancient feline)
First appearance: X-Men Vol. 1 #10 (1965)
Born in the Savage Land and losing his mother as a cub, the sabertooth tiger befriended young Kevin Plunder, an English boy who lost his family and got stranded on the bizarre ancient world. Zabu became the boy’s protector, and when he grew older, the human adopted the name Ka-Zar, savior of the poor people that populate the Savage Land. With a human-level intelligence, Zabu must feel ashamed that his best friend walks around the jungles in a kilt. At least there are no people from the outside world to see this. That is, until Spider-Man and the Avengers started paying visits to the Savage Land once a month. Not even the beauty of Ka-Zar’s lovely lady Shanna can amend Zabu’s humiliation.
Great moment: Spotting Skrull impostors during Secret Invasion. The Skrull plan worked so well against telepathy, Earth technology and sorcery – but one giant cat did the job way before Reed Richards came up with his gizmo.
5. Old Lace (The Runaways’ resident carnivorous)
First appearance: Runaways Vol. 1 #2 (2003)
When a bunch of high society LA teens discovered their parents’ deep dark secrets, they ran away from home and used the evil Pride’s “gifts” against them. Gertrude Yorkes’ parents were time travelers from the distant future, stuck in this dimension. On one of their quests they brought back a female Deinonychus with telepathic connection to her future owner. When Old Lace was found by the Runaways, she immediately made a connection with Gertrude and became an important part of the group. Months later, Gert sacrificed herself to save her boyfriend Chase’s life. Before dying, she transferred her connection with Old Lace to Chase. Until recently, Old Lace was still a dominant member of the Runaways, but she herself sacrificed her own life to save a friend. Or so it seemed.
Great moment: Jumping at Gertrude from a secret room, only for the latter to find out they have a telepathic connection and that the dinosaur obeys her every command.
4. Lockheed (Kitty Pryde’s cute lil’ firebreather)
First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #166 (1983)
Lockheed’s actual real appearance was in a fairy tale Kitty Pryde told to her friend Illyana Rasputin. The purple dragon took the place of the X-Men’s Blackbird jet. Sometime later, during an encounter with the Brood, Kitty found a real purple dragon, belonging to an extraterrestrial species, and brought him back with her to Earth, naming him after the fictional dragon. Soon, Lockheed’s presence was known to the rest of the X-Men, and he became Kitty’s loyal companion. After many years, though, Lockheed was revealed as a mole amidst the X-Men, reporting back to S.W.O.R.D. Director Abigail Brand. This revelation severed Lockheed’s relationship with the X-Men and especially Kitty, shortly before she disappeared into deep space with no possible way of returning.
Great moment: During Logan’s wedding to Mariko (before it was canceled, of course) Scott’s girlfriend Madelyne Pryor was given Kitty’s bag to look after her pet, only to discover she’s not holding a cat and mutter one of the funniest and gloomiest – knowing Madelyne’s future – dialogues ever.
3. Lockjaw (The Inhumans’ teleporting behemoth)
First appearance: Fantastic Four #45 (1965)
While Lockjaw looks like a giant dog, he’s more of an equal among the royal family of Attilan. It doesn’t stop anyone from treating him like a pet, though. Anyway, Lockjaw uses his teleportation abilities a lot and leaves Attila whenever he likes, especially when he’s bored and wants to play catch with Johnny Storm and stomp little human kids when doing that. Speaking of the Fantastic Four, they must be his favorite people besides Lockjaw’s own Inhuman family, and his best non-Inhuman friend is Ben Grimm. If his orange rocky appearance didn’t ruin his chances with any woman yet, surely being accompanied by a giant bulldog with an antenna on his head will make things better.
Great moment: Forming his own super-pets team in the recent Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers. Basically, Lockjaw was the rock that bonded everyone without muttering one word, using only his telepathic bond with Throg (you know, Thor-frog) to lead the group. Yes, just like Black Bolt and Medusa. Hmm…
2. Krypto (Superman’s lovable car smasher)
First appearance Adventure ComicsVol. 1 #210 (1955)
When Superman was dubbed “The Last Son of Krypton” we shouldn’t have been expected to believe there will be more Kryptonians popping up decades later, right? The first prominent Kryptonian character to grace comic books other than Kal-El (not counting Superboy, Clark Kent’s secret identity as a teen) was Krypto, his dog. Sent away from Krypton by Jor-El in order to test the craft that will carry his baby, he made a move a la the Soviets with Laika and sacrificed his beloved dog. Eventually the dog landed on Earth and found his owner’s son. With the way Jor-El got rid of him, it’s a surprise Krypto didn’t try to butcher the boy… However, they became friends, and ever since, Clark and anyone in the Super-family have been trying to restrain the energetic super-puppy. Tell that to the numerous headless mailmen in the Smallville area.
Great moment: Miserably getting involved in the fight between Superboy, aka Conner Kent, and Superboy-Prime, aka Clark Kent in Infinite Crisis. Sadly, despite Krypto’s vicious bite, Superboy-Prime managed to kick him away and eventually killed Conner.
1. Tinker, Bandit and Pirate (The U.S. Government’s favorite slaughtering band)
First appearance: WE3 #1 (2004)
OK, they’re not really pets and were the best outcome to date of a U.S. Government classified project, making animals into murderous weapons. The WE3 squad, however, developed a conscious and just wanted to run away and find a new home, thanks to one of their caretakers. The army, of course, won’t give them up that easily and definitely won’t let three animals in armor and with various weapons run around, and squads upon squads of poor soldiers are being sacrificed as grind meat in the claws of “2.” “1” is the natural leader and with his limited talking abilities takes his two companions to the promised warm home they’ve fantasized about so much. Because under all the programming, heavy artillery and killings – they are just animals that were taken away from their previous lives and want them back.
Great moment: The army sends after WE3 another one of their other wild experiments: A platoon of suicidal cyborg mice. The protagonists barely make it out, but thanks to “3”‘s surprise exploding “poop,” the mice are defeated, however with price of destroying a railroad bridge and taking a train off its course. Coming out of water, WE3 is ready to continue on their quest over the unconscious train driver who’s lying on the bank of the river. They leave the place and the human’s amputated upper body is already being eaten by a hungry seagull.
Honorable mentions: Streaky the Supercat (Supergirl), Redwing (Falcon), Beppo (Superboy), Hairball (Speedball), Comet the Super-Horse (Supergirl), Ace the Bat-Hound (Batman), Monkey Joe, and Tippy-Toe (Squirrel Girl).
To contact Tomer Soiker: [email protected]