By Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“Animals may not understand our every word, but when it comes to tone? They understand perfectly.”
-Ka-Zar, Lockjaw 2
Throughout this issue, D-Man repeatedly states his confusion about what’s going on. He doesn’t know what it takes to survive in the Savage Land, he doesn’t know what Lockjaw is really up to, he doesn’t know what “the Beast” is. And it’s not just a good running gag: he doesn’t know what the D in D-Man stands for anymore. Writer Daniel Kibblesmith gifts the reader with Dennis’ confusion, greedily keeping most of the series’ explanation and exposition off the page. We are left to intuit was is right and what is wrong, just like D-Man does. We’re reading tone — and we understand that perfectly.
But as long as we’re also trying to piece together the plot, let’s struggle with the words a little bit. We do get a much more detailed look into what’s driving everyone’s favorite teleporting spacedog via two quick cutaways to a location Kibblesmith will only identify as “elsewhere.” Of course, Spider-Man fans will recognize the silhouette of Spider-Ham on page 6, whose identity is confirmed on both the final page and the teaser of next month’s cover. Artist Carlos Villa and colorist Chris O’Halloran help to make the biggest connection between Lockjaw and Peter Porker’s world: a tuning fork vibrating with blue energy.
That’s the shape and color of the fork on Lockjaw’s head, as well as the color that envelopes him when he FUOOOMPHs from one place to the next. So while we don’t know much, we can infer that Lockjaw is bouncing around the universe checking every possible source of the BIP BIP message he’s receiving. That leads him back to long-lost siblings (or… something) but he’s really looking for the SOS these animal people are kicking out.
While Lockjaw is literally searching for the meaning to his quest, D-Man sorta has to apply that philosophy to his life. What’s the point of being this kind of weirdo superhero with no powers and no friends? The BIP BIP in Dennis’ life is the emptiness of having no purpose. But even outside of having purpose, Dennis has perspective, he has values. That’s why he stands up to Ka-Zar to defend an innocent wolf.
I’m sure Lockjaw and D-Man are going to make it to the home of the Spectacular Spider-Ham and save the day there, the bulk of their adventure is following the breadcrumbs that lead them there. Here’s a friend (or sibling) of Lockjaw’s, and a brief look into his past, and he’s a moral decision that D-Man makes. We’ll get to what this all “means” in a while – right now the characters are showing us what they mean.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?