After what feels like a ridiculously long wait, Marvel's Inhumans enjoyed its TV premiere on ABC and doing so introduced a brand new faction of heroes and villains to the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe. The new series, based on one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's oldest properties from the 1960s, centres on a fictional race of super-humans, more specifically a Royal Family, who rule a hidden city on the moon called Attilan. That family is made up of the Inhuman king Black Bolt (Anson Mount), his brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon), his queen Medusa (Serinda Swan), Karnak (Ken Leung), Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), the princess Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) and Lockjaw. In the first episode, aptly called "The First Chapter," it becomes clear that the latter two characters share a rather special connection and we can look to the comic books to find out why.
Crystal appeared for the first time in Fantastic Four #45. She's the sister of Medusa, and the daughter of Quelin and Ambur, with elemental power over fire, water/ice, air, and earth though it seems the show has neglected to include much of her superhuman abilities. Lockjaw's first appearance was in the same issue, released in December 1965, and he is more than just a pet. The giant bulldog-looking beast, with an antennae on his head, is both the companion and protector of the Royal Family. Unlike Crystal, the show has made room for Lockjaw's powers of teleportation across time and space and his abilities have come in handy for her on numerous occasions in the comic books.
In fact, he became a sort-of teleporting chaperone for Crystal whenever she needed to visit Earth from Attilan and vice versa. After Black Bolt managed to destroy Maximus the Mad's negative barrier - which was keeping them trapped inside their lunar city - Lockjaw took Crystal to New York so she could reunite with The Human Torch. Later, he teleported the entire team to Attilan so they could ask Black Bolt for his permission for Crystal to replace the Invisible Girl who was pregnant. In the Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Comics Magazine series, Lockjaw and Crystal go on numerous journeys together and do battle alongside The Thing, the Invisible Girl, Mister Fantastic and The Human Torch against Doctor Doom, and in further storylines he demonstrates his loyalty to her in even more dire situations.
In Fantastic Four Annual #12, Lockjaw ensures the escape of Crystal from the clutches of a rogue Inhuman called Thraxon who teams up with Sphinx and manages to capture the rest of the Royal Family. In Fantastic Four #239, after Attilan is plagued by a series of air quakes that allow pollutants from the outside world to infect the city, Crystal falls ill and Lockjaw remains by her bedside.
It's definitely good to see that Marvel's Inhumans has stayed true to the comic book's portrayal of their companionship and even though they haven't presented her powers thus far - despite being the second most powerful to Black Bolt - they have presented them as heroic figures. In the first episode, Crystal ensures the escape of her family to Earth after Maximus' coup, with the help of Lockjaw's teleportation abilities, but they are unable to save themselves before being captured. It is when Maximus threatens the life of Lockjaw to Crystal that viewers realise just how deep a bond they share but what we haven't really seen so far is the canine's friendship with Black Bolt.
Despite the fact that Crystal and Lockjaw spend much of their time galavanting across time and space together, he was originally the companion of the Inhuman king. As Crystal points out to Johnny Storm in their very first comic book appearance, the giant dog is "nearly as powerful and wonderful as his master Black Bolt." He often does the bidding of the Inhuman king, and in Black Bolt #5, from creators Saladin Ahmed, Christian Ward, and Frazer Irving, we find out his true origins. The mutt has been Bolt's companion since he was a baby and his birth seems to have been the result of some Inhumans experimenting on canine. This backstory reaffirms the retcon of the storyline that reveals Lockjaw is really an Inhuman who transformed into a giant teleporting dog after subjecting himself to the Terrine Mists - a substance that draws out the special powers of Inhumans.
In The Thing #3, Lockjaw utters words for first and only time during an argument between Crystal and Quicksilver over their daughter Luna. The child, for some reason, was born a human and Quicksilver wants to subject her to Terrigenesis because he thinks any mutant outcome would be better than being just human. "Anything, Pietro? Even me?" he asks the speedster. In a later issue this incident is referred to, in X-Factor #71, as a prank played on The Thing by Gorgon and Karnak to make him think there was another mutated person out there like himself.
It's no wonder that Marvel wanted to retcon the idea of Lockjaw being an Inhuman because it would seem rather cruel to treat him like a pet. Imagine if Star-Lord and Zamora had took that approach to Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy! And the TV show is following suit as showrunner Scott Buck confirmed to Comic Book Resources:
“Lockjaw is a dog. Lockjaw is not an Inhuman. This is not his territory. He’s a dog. He’s always been a dog. How he came to be this way, why is he so big? How can he teleport? It’s a fun mystery. We’re not going to fully explore that — just yet, anyway.”
We've got seven more episodes of the first season to get through and viewers will obviously learn even more about the relationship between Crystal and Lockjaw, and the dog's superpower origins. Here's hoping that Marvel's Inhumans offers a far more revealing explanation than the comics.
- Inhumans (2017 - ) release date: Sep 22, 2018