Lockjaw #3 sees Dennis “D-Man” Dunphy and the Inhumans’ royal hound hurtling onto Larval Earth where they tangle with an anthropomorphic animal version of The Wrecking Crew and meet The Spectacular Spider-Ham! Does the latest episode of Lockjaw and D-Man’s journey bring as many laughs and thrills as the previous two issues?
The premise alone had me chuckling, and the execution was even funnier. So far in the series there’s been a pattern of dividing the issues into half-action, half-dialogue driven scenes where the plot moves a bit. This issue is no different and Lockjaw and D-Man’s fight with The Wrecking Zoo is hysterical and well scripted. Writer Daniel Kibblesmith capitalizes on every pun he can with members of The Wrecking Zoo like “The Whisker,” who is a whisk-wielding cat. Each member of the Zoo is more ridiculous than the last and are perfect foes for the equally ridiculous Spectacular Spider-Ham. I would love to see Kibblesmith on a Spider-Ham series after this with The Wrecking Zoo returning and whatever other animal-villains he would want to throw in because all his jokes land, even the groan-inducing ones.
Once things calm down, the issue’s second half consists of mostly plot-driven dialogue, but it never feels uninteresting. We learn a lot about why Lockjaw is hopping around dimensions and are introduced to who the likely antagonist for the series as a whole is. Even the less action-packed moments have plenty of jokes, so though some readers may not like the sudden slow-down for the sake of explanation, I didn’t mind the pace change at all. I’m happy to learn what Lockjaw’s motivations have been this whole time and though he looks silly, it’s nice being reminded of how smart he really is.
Speaking of how silly he looks, penciler Carlos Villa brings his usual A-game to drawing Lockjaw and all the crazy animals that appear in this issue. Lockjaw’s expressions on the opening page are so cute, so ridiculous, so exactly what I want Lockjaw to look like. Villa’s Lockjaw has set a new bar when it comes to conveying how adorable, slobbery, and majestic Lockjaw should look like and his face is so expressive throughout, there’s no issue with his lack of dialogue at all. All the environments look clean with just the right amount of detail and even the more dramatic scenes that have a totally different mood than usual looks great.
Chris O’Halloran’s coloring maintains the cartoon-like mood throughout as usual, and his work on the dramatic scenes convey the washed-out, flashback feeling well. Clayton Cowles’s lettering continues to shine best when there’s a cartoony effect to be conveyed and Roberto Poggi’s inking adds a lot of great texture to clothes and shadows.
Overall, the whole team continues to bring their best to Lockjaw. I’m sad there’s only one more issue after this because it’s become one of my favorite lighthearted reads amongst Marvel’s selection. If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, this issue doesn’t disappoint at all.