Yesterday was National Dog Day, and what better way to celebrate one of man's most loyal companions than to write about them? But because this is Moviepilot, there will be no mere lap dogs in this article! These are not simple pups, but superheroes in their own right! Though some may see them as useless, they at least provide companionship to their masters and as we'll see, they can be very effective in crime fighting.
Ace the Bat-Hound (DC)
First Appearance: Batman #92
The first Ace was a German Shepherd, owned by John Wilker. When the engraver was kidnapped, Batman found the dog, and after being unable to find Ace a home, decided to take care of him. Because of a unique star on his forehead, Ace had to wear a mask (Go figure.)Batman eventually rescued Wilker, but was able to keep Ace because John couldn't take care of him. Though he has rarely appeared in the comic books, especially after No Man's Land, Ace was often able to rescue Robin and even Batman from more sticky situations. Having a well trained attack dog would come in handy, just ask the Joker.
A more famous rendition of Ace is the Great Dane we see in Batman Beyond. In this continuum, Ace was a fighting dog who escaped some rather unpleasant circumstances. He found an elderly Bruce being attacked by a member of the Jokerz (a shoot-off of the original Joker) gang. After being saved by the powerful dog, Bruce took him in, mostly for protection (he was getting on in years) but also for companionship.
The cool thing about Ace is that he doesn't have anything that makes him special. Like his owner, he's just a normal dog. Yes, some of his iterations have been a little cheesy (Krypto the Superdog ring a bell?) but he has been a faithful companion of the Batman for many years.
Krypto the Superdog (DC)
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #250
Back in the old days before Krypton blew up, Jor-El prepared for the eventual catastrophe by testing on dogs. (It was during the Space Race after all.) At any rate, Krypto arrived on Earth before Kal-El did, and was young Clark's companion for many years. He then served as Superboy's pet as the young clone was growing up.
In the New 52, Jor-El attempted to create a friend for his son by putting some of Clark's DNA into the dog to create an 'unbreakable bond'. Then as Krypton was destroyed, Jor opened the Phantom Zone, and nearly brought out every villain stuck inside. Krypto saved his family, but was trapped. Years later, Superman discovered that he had a 'ghost' following him. Clark rescued the dog, and now Krypto serves as Superman's pet.
Krypto was originally a white dog of generic breed, but in the New 52 he's more like a wolf. Because of his Kryptonian origins, the dog has all the powers that Superman has. Of course, because of physical size, Krypto is unable to lift all that Clark can nor can he move as fast. Much like his counterpart Ace, he doesn't get too much attention nowadays, but he is just as faithful, and just as important.
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #45
Here's where things get weird. Long story short, The Kree came to Earth thousands of years ago and did this genetic experiment that created a super-race called the Inhumans. Present day, a dog was exposed to the Terrigen Mists (go watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., kids) and gained some pretty amazing powers. Lockjaw, aka Sparky, serves as transportation for the Inhuman royal family. Almost five feet to the shoulder, and capable of consuming all matter, this giant bulldog serves as bodyguard to the Attilan monarchy.
I'm not sure, but I think that loyalty is a common trait in dogs. Lockjaw is no exception. He has served Black Bolt and his family for years, though he's also been a stalwart friend of the Thing and Kamala Khan. He has strong empathic tendencies but because of his Inhuman...I mean Incanine physiology he can sense people in need pretty much all over the world. Did I mention that he can teleport through dimensions and realities?
First Appearance: Nova #8
For this guy's origins, we have to go back to the U.S.S.R. Cosmo was shipped up into space as part of a program much like the one that sent Laika into orbit. Something happened, and Cosmo was lost in deep space. Along the way, he gained telepathic powers and ended up running Nowhere, the prison from Guardians of the Galaxy. He now acts as a sort of Q for the team, arranging legal transport, and providing missions.
Cosmo is like the Professor X of dogs. He is a highly powerful telepath and telekinetic, making him the smartest dog in comic books. So powerful in fact that he was able to convince Silver Surfer, Gladiator, Ronan, Beta Ray Bill and Quasar to team up. Not really tied to any master, Cosmo is the alpha dog, a commander and leader. A dog among men.
Well, that was interesting. Sadly, we often skip over the pets of comic books because they seem silly or for kids. And maybe they have been a little hokey or just plain bizarre. However, these four super-dogs have been faithful companions and strong allies for superheroes through time and space. They deserve some form of recognition, in my mind.
Did I miss anyone? Or maybe you have a great reason to support my claims. Either way, feel free to share it in the comics!