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Pet Force is a series of books for young readers. It is a spin-off of Garfield, in which the main animal characters of the comic series are portrayed as comic book superheroes. The action takes place on planet Polyester.
In another universe, one which exists parallel to Garfield's own, a team of five superheroes known as "Pet Force" serve Emperor Jon as protectors of his throne. Ruling the galaxy from the planet Polyester, Jon's reign is constantly opposed by the evil Vetvix. When Vetvix uses a new weapon and strips Pet Force of their powers, and sends them to a ghostly dimension where they will be trapped forever, Jon is forced to have his right-hand man, Sorcerer Binky, use a dimensional portal to find five alternate versions of the heroes to take their place. In Garfield's universe, Pet Force is a best-selling comic book, and when Nermal buys the limited-edition 100th issue, it becomes a portal through which they are pulled into the alternate universe, becoming the new Pet Force. Although they return to their own universe after the initial adventure, they subsequently return to fight Vetvix and other evils when needed.
- Book #1: The Outrageous Origin (1998)
- Book #2: Pie-Rat's Revenge (1998)
- Book #3: K-Niner: Dog of Doom (1998)
- Book #4: Menace of the Mutanator (1998)
- Book #5: Attack of the Lethal Lizards (1999)
The story was later continued within several Pet Force comic stories featured in the Boom! Studios Garfield comic books.
The characters in Pet Force include characters from the original Garfield universe, as well as some entirely new characters.
Garzooka is the superhero version of Garfield and the leader of Pet Force. Garzooka's abilities are gamma-radiated hairballs, superhuman strength, and razor-sharp claws in his right hand that can rend solid steel. While the original Garzooka was heroic and a born leader, the Garzooka created from Garfield is lazy and gluttonous, though he still focuses on the task at hand.
Odious is the superhero version of Odie and the dumbest of the Pet Force. Odious, like his normal comic counterpart Odie, does not talk. He drools, licks, and barks, which is how he acts in the original Garfield comics. Odious' abilities are a "super-stretchy stun tongue" that causes a total mental meltdown in anyone he uses it against, super-slippery saliva, and superhuman strength.
Abnermal is the superhero version of Nermal. Unlike the rest of the team, Abnermal quickly takes to his superpowers and is overjoyed to be a hero. Abnermal's abilities include his Pester Power, the ability to create force fields, and a body temperature of absolute zero that allows him to freeze anything he touches and project ice blasts. In the movie, he is given super speed.
Starlena is the superhero version of Arlene. Starlena's abilities are a siren song that puts anyone who hears it into a deep trance, to which only Garzooka, Odious and the Lethal Lizard member Snake are immune, and the ability to fly. In the movie, she is granted the power to freeze enemies with her eyes.
Compooky, half teddy bear, half robot, is a superhero version of Garfield's teddy bear, Pooky. Despite being an inanimate teddy bear in Garfield's universe, in the alternate universe Compooky can speak and is furthermore highly intelligent. Having no real combat abilities, he normally stays on board their ship while the others deal with the crisis. He does not exist in the movie version of Pet Force.
A beautiful and powerful sorceress, Vetvix is the main villain of the Pet Force, an evil veterinarian. The source of her evil is a power crystal on her headband. Vetvix's main source of minions is an animal-splicing machine that allows her to mix and match parts from other animals and create new creatures that are entirely under her control. She is also highly skilled with magic and genetics. She is the opposite of Dr. Liz. Emperor Jon might have strong feelings for her.
K-Niner is a Doberman with enhanced intelligence and superhuman strength, as well as a British accent and demeanor. Vetvix created a brain-booster that he then used to increase the intelligence of various other dogs, and gave those dogs mind-controlling collars to place on their owners and make them think they were dogs. Eventually, he was defeated by Pet Force and transformed back into a regular Doberman.
The Space Pie-Rat
A large rat with a monstrous appetite, he is Vetvix's main minion until he rebels against her and is defeated. He steals food from any planet he visits and wears a fake pegleg and an eyepatch, despite having both eyes; he just likes the look. When he is successfully manipulated by Vetvix into repairing her power crystal for her, she punishes him for his betrayal by teleporting him into the core of an asteroid.
A monster created by Vetvix from the pieces of Pet Force minus Garzooka, the Mutanator possessed all the powers of the original four members, including Compooky's super-computer intelligence, Starlena's siren song, Odious' super-strength, and Abnermal's force fields and ice powers. Because of Garzooka's reluctance to injure his friends, the Mutanator was able to defeat him, but was later split apart and restored to the original members of Pet Force.
The Lethal Lizards
A trio of reptiles from the swamp planet of Reptilius, mutated by energy emitted from Vetvix's laboratory during her experiments with the Mutanator and K-Niner. They acquire superpowers and humanoid forms and, after learning of Vetvix's plans and Emperor Jon, decide to take over the universe themselves. The trio do not get along very well, often insulting each other with dry wit and sarcasm, and their arguments sometimes even escalate to physical violence. In the end, Pet Force defeats them, and they are carted off to prison. Their members consist of:
- Dragon: A ten-foot-tall Komodo dragon, and the leader of the group, who also has a short temper and dislikes to give up any position of power among his gang or admit when he is wrong. He is noted by Garzooka as having superpowers similar to his own; he possesses superhuman strength, razor-sharp claws, and the ability to breathe fire. Due to his mutation, he is also intelligent enough to figure out how to capably fly a spaceship.
- Chameleon: A five-foot-tall chameleon who possesses potentially unlimited shapeshifting powers in addition to a long tongue similar to Odious's. In addition, his eyes can rotate independently of one another, allowing him to look in two directions at once.
- Snake: A fifteen-foot-long boa constrictor. Before his mutation, he was barely a foot long and had no fangs. He can squeeze his opponents with incredible force, open his mouth incredibly wide to swallow people whole, and his venom can kill a victim within a few minutes. Also, as he has no ears and is thus deaf, he is completely immune to the effects of Starlena's siren song.
1. Davis, Jim, Pet Force 1: The Outrageous Origin, 1, Scholastic