In honor of Pet Week on the Woot blog and the complete collapse of the DC Universe as we know it, today's the day we take a brief look at the bravest beasts of the Silver Age... The Legion Of Super Pets
Just like Captain Carrot and Stephanie Brown, the Legion of Super-Pets are a highly-marketable all-ages property that can't possibly be exciting to sixteen year old boys, and so they are often looked upon with shame. But are these pets really as dumb as people say they are? Join us inside, and judge the Legion of Super-Pets for yourself.
It's clear that some people think a team of super-powered animals is just a waste of space. And if your only exposure to the Superpets was a story like Adventure 343... here, let's take a look at that one now. But instead of showing you what the humans do, let's follow the story of the animals.
Even while fighting space aliens, this version of the Legion of Super-Pets is basically like your own dog and cat and horse and monkey, watching you sadly each morning as you leave for work. "Hey, I want to go!" "Hey, take me!" And who doesn't recognize the rush of "Hey! Hey! You're home at last!" in the very last panel? This story is full of honest-to-goodness comic book realism, and yet, this story is ridiculously boring. The problem with the Super-Pets is that you just can't write them as regular animals. It takes a very special over-the-top sort of story to make them fun.
See, THAT'S what we're talking about. Throw realism out the window! If you can accept telepathic links, and you love the idea of Superboy making a special table so his dog, his monkey, and his cousin's cat and horse can strike a pose, you're already halfway to being a Legion of Super-Pets fan.
The team's first appearance was in Adventure 293, when a complete lack of Philip J. Fry meant that only animals could defeat the hovering superbrains from outer space. When Krypto wasn't enough, the Legion went to their time sphere and found Supergirl's kitty friend Streaky, plus a Kryptonian monkey and Supergirl's horse, which, at the time he first appeared, wasn't Supergirl's horse yet.
Yeah, and this was decades before they did the same thing on Doctor Who. The same story established that cats have better grammar than monkeys:
Unlike most hero leagues, there's no Batman-Superman-Wonder Woman triangle goin' on with the Super-Pets. Instead, there's Krypto, Superman's lifelong pal, and Beppo, with his quiet monkey dignity:
Then there's Proty, the shapeshifting blob who doesn't appear very often, and Comet the horse... or at least, a horse from a certain point of view...
Closing out the team is Streaky, the Supercat, who might actually be the most powerful member of the team. Team this little fella up with Catwoman and Bruce Wayne doesn't have a chance.
As you'd expect from a cat, Streaky just sort of wanders in and out of comics when he feels like it, and this skill has allowed him to survive each and every crisis so far. He came back after the loss of the Infinite Earths, he came back after Zero Hour, he came back after Final Crisis, and we're thinking there's a pretty good chance he'll be the first Silver Age hero to sneak back into the new DC (possibly in the background of a Grant Morrison book... keep your eyes peeled!)
Currently the Legion of Super-Pets waits in the past, guarding the Silver Age from postmen and delivery people. But a loyal pet doesn't ever give up and go away. A loyal pet nudges open the closed door, climbs into your lap, and stares up at you with loving eyes until you notice them again. How can someone throw them out into the cold after all they've done to make you smile?
Since 1986, DC Comics has tried to get rid of this Silver Age nonsense over and over and over again, and each time, it eventually comes back. So don't you worry, Super-Pets. We're convinced we're going to see you all again.