There is an ongoing argument in my household about who the best dog in comics is. And before you ask, yes the debate predates the arrival of our toddler. This is an important question. Anyway, we have at various times taken several positions. Sometimes it was Pizza Dog from Hawkeye. One time it was Ace the Bat-hound (it was right when the first post-Rebirth Batmanannual hit). Thori and Cosmo from Guardians of the Galaxy are non-starters even though I love them dearly (they’re more like people than dogs). But the argument almost always comes down to Lockjaw vs. Krypto, and in Supergirl#38, Jody Houser and Rachael Stott provide some pretty definitive evidence that it’s Krypto.
I’m not going to try and pretend it’s anything complicated like who’s got the best stories (although the backup in early New 52 Action Comics about Krypto watching Clark from the Phantom Zone is easily the best super pet story ever) or who could win in a fight (more complicated than you might think). It’s all on character. Lockjaw is a very good boy, beloved by everyone and best friends with the canonical Best Thor, Beta Ray Bill. But towards the middle of this new issue of Supergirl, there’s a panel where Krypto, trying to calm a scared kid at the Smallville, puts his head down right on her knee. That’s VERY GOOD dog content, the kind of thing mine do when someone is stressed or holding a sandwich or upset, and something I don’t think I’ve seen a pet do in comics before.
It’s really easy to half-ass dog art, but Stott does a wonderful job of making Krypto’s phyisical presence as important to the story being told as Kara’s or the folks from Smallville. In these preview pages, take a look at Krypto’s eyes, especially. There’s some high quality dog content throughout, but you can see puzzlement, worry, joy and anticipation all on Krypto’s face throughout the issue. Krypto is very labby here and I think that’s another part of the reason why we’ve landed on him being the bestest pupper. Lockjaw is a sweetheart, but if I wanted something with a paunch, a low center of gravity and bite problems…I mean, I already live with myself.
Houser and Stott do more than just give us good dog content. They further Kara’s story as one of the Batman Who Laughs’ infected lieutenants. Her rationale for going to Smallville works, and they use Wonder Woman and her abilities to great effect in building on this tale. Here’s what DC has to say about the book.
SUPERGIRL #38 written by JODY HOUSER art by RACHAEL STOTT cover by MIKE PERKINS card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW After Batman and Superman couldn’t stop the Infected Supergirl from trying to thee entire world, they knew they had to call in the only person they trust can bring Kara back…Wonder Woman! Will Diana’s compassion be enough to cure Kara of the infection that’s taken over? If not, what’s a fight between an uninhibited Kryptonian power house against a god like? You’ll find out here!
And here are the preview pages. Take a look!