by Michael Hutchison
Editor's Note: The original origin of the team in Teen Titans #16 and Captain Carrot #1 included the characters Superman and Starro as instrumental parts of the story. It is not known whether they would be included in a post-Crisis re-telling. Probably not. But for the purposes here, the story will be retold as is.
Roger Rodney Rabbit (who goes by his middle name to avoid lawsuits from the Wart Grizzley Company) never dreamed that he'd be anything more than the unappreciated writer/artist of the JLA (Justa Lotta Animals) comic book. Then, one day, a bizarre mythical creature called a human appeared in his studio. He was dressed very similar to the comic book character Super Squirrel, only he called himself Supermax or something like that. Superman explained that he came from another dimension where humans were the dominant species and animals didn't talk.
Superman told his story. On his Earth, strange rays from the planet Pluto were causing humans to de-evolve into neanderthal behavoir. Investigating, Superman had used a strange asteroid to defend himself from the rays, but to no avail. In a burst of energy, he and the strange asteroid had been blasted into this cartoony dimension.
Rodney drew a carrot from his windowbox to munch while Superman continued his story but upon eating it, Rodney developed huge muscles, oversized feet and a superhero costume. Superman examined the windowbox and found a small chunk of the irradiated asteroid that had transformed the veggies into "cosmic carrots." News of superheroes appearing all over the United Species of America confirmed that other pieces of the asteroid had possessed similar properties.
Calling himself Captain Carrot, Rodney and Superman investigated reports that rays from space were also affecting the animal populace. But while attempting to fly to Pluto, Superman struck an energy barrier and disappeared in a burst of light. Captain Carrot fell to Earth from the upper atmosphere and would have died if he hadn't been caught by Pig Iron.
Steel worker Peter Porkchops had been working by a vat when he was knocked into it by a falling meteorite. He and the molten iron merged into the porcine powerhouse, Pig Iron.
Together, Captain Carrot and Pig Iron embarked on a journey to round up all of the superheroes and journey to Pluto.
In Mew Orleans, martial artist Felina Furr had been meditating when the meteorite had landed in front of her, transforming her into the magical kitty known as Alley-Kat-Abra. In the midwest, down-and-outer Timmy-Joe Terrapin had been running for a bus to his latest job when the meteorite embedded itself in his carapace ("shell") and he found himself rocketing down the street. As Fastback, Timmy Joe was wrestling a tornado in Kornsas when the team found him. In Follywood, Califurnia, Rova Barkitt was interviewing film star Byrd Rentals when a meteorite joined Byrd in his hot tub. His body absorbed the water. Rova was running for the phone when a meteorited struck her forehead, making her see stars and stripes. As Rubberduck and Yankee Poodle, they joined the rest of the "Zoo Crew" and together they set off for the planet Pluto.
Once the Zoo Crew reached Pluto, they found Superman at the mercy
of Starro the Conqueror. Starro had regrown on Pluto after one of
his severed tentacles had passed through a spatial warp. The Zoo
Crew defeated Starro and decided to band together against injustice.
After saving president Mallard Fillmore's life on two separate occasions, the government funded the Zoo Crew providing them with their headquarters (the Z Building), an all-purpose vehicle (the Zoo Cruiser) and a starship (the Star Hopper).
Further adventures lead to a meeting between the Zoo Crew and the Justa Lotta Animals, who actually existed in another dimension, as well as the addition of one more teammate, Little Cheese.
Chester Cheese was a high school basketball star. His father, Dr. Edam Cheese, was a prominent astrophysicist. One day, Chester was approached by some underworld types who took him to see kingpin Fatkat. Fatkat wanted Chester to throw a game, but he refused. He raced home to find that the ruffians had gotten there ahead of him and murdered his father. They knocked Chet out and locked him in his dad's secured lab. After hours had passed, Chet got hungry and ate some cheese in the lab fridge, not realizing it was a piece of "Lunar Longhorn" from the moon. The cheese caused Chet to shrink; when he was small enough, Chet escaped and sought out the Zoo Crew to help him put Fatkat away.
After many more Zoo Crew adventures, "Little Cheese" returned
and was made the first new member of the Zoo Crew.
The Zoo Crew has faced many bizarre menaces over the years, including:
Starro, The Conqueror and Gorilla Grodd - Villains from the DC Universe.
Amazoo, Shaggy Dog and Feline Faust - These foes of the Justa Lotta Animals teamed up with Dr. Hoot to rule two universes.
Armordillo - Armored menace from the Lone Stork state.
Baron Von Vermin - Once a Ratzi commandant helping to establish Adolph Hippo's New Odor, he changed his name and secretly became the ambassador for San Salamander.
Bow-Zar the Barkbarian - Time-tossed, sword-wielding bowwow.
Brother Hood, leader of A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C. - President Mallard Fillmore's bad brother, head of A Corporation Recently Organized Solely To Instigate Crimes. An interesting aside: he uses hand-shadows to illustrate his master plans.
The Bunny From Beyond (pictured) - An extra-terrestrial menace cocooned on Easter-Egg Island.
Cheshire Cheetah - Not fast enough for Fastback
Cold Turkey - An ice-powered extortionist.
Debbil Dawg - Artist Salvador Doggi indulged in devil worship to inspire his melting watch paintings, then found himself sucked into the bizarre dimension he'd tapped. If he can ever return to our dimension, he intends to use his powers to warp our world to match his visions.
Digger O'Doom - A mole working as janitor at the Wombat Communications Company who stumbled across Rodney's carrots.
Dr. Hoot - No, not the Time Lord from Gallifrey. This bird's just your standard mad scientist.
Fatkat - Mobster who killed Professor Edam Cheese.
The Frankenswine Monster - Reanimated monster which awoke and attacked Pig Iron.
Frogzilla- Skyscraper-sized frog, enhanced by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C., who attacked the Lust Boat on one occasion and later teamed up with an unscrupulous landcrab to attempt to steal the Z-building.
Gnudini - Alley-Kat-Abra found that this famous magician was actually a genie.
Jailhouse Roc - Hepcat giant bird, enhanced by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.
King Kone - Garrison Gorilla was fired from Basset and Robin's ice cream stores for misusing the ice cream in strange experiments. Disgruntled, Garry went postal and used ice cream to try to bring cold death to the company owners.
Kongaroo - Down-under do-badder, enhanced by A.C.R.O.S.T.I.C.
Mudd - A re-animated alligator corpse that tormented movie starlet Farrah Foxette.
Power Platypus - A stuntmammal jilted when Byrd Rentals did his own stunts for "The Canine-Bull Run".
Salamandroid (pictured) - A solar-powered creation of Dr. Hoot, this assassin failed due to his lack of a battery.
The Screeching Tire - Disgruntled stuntvermin Starski Hutch used a humongous tire to try to kill Steven Spielbird-dog.
Slumberjack - The slowest rabbit in the world, Fastback overestimated this villain's speed.
Solar Bear - Always-wrong meteorologist Stanley Bruin gained blinding solar powers when a giant magnifying glass fell out of a cargo plane into a ray of sunlight, focusing on the bear just as he was adjusting the station antenna.
The Squawker - Rova's rival gossip columnist Polly Wannacracker, electrocuted into a screechy-voiced menace.
The Time-Keeper - Temporal tyrant who collected segments of Earth history, injuring the timeline.
The Wuz-Wolf - That's right, he WAS a wolf, now he's a man. Scary, ooooooh!
The Yolk Monsters of Easter Egg Island - Water-consuming blobs from space.
Article © Michael Hutchison 1998
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