Lobo (vol.2) #1 (December, 2014)
Writer – Cullen Bunn
Penciller – Reilly Brown
Inker – Nelson DeCastro
Colorist – Pete Pantazis
Letterer – Travis Lanham
Assistant Editors – Anthony Marques & Jeremy Bent
Editor – Mike Cotton
Group Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
One of the best parts… okay, the best part about this whole blogging endeavor, is the friendships I’ve made (it’s one of my “Two F’s” for doing this at all… friends and fun). I never would have imagined, the first time I put digital ink to screen that I’d meet such nice folks. People who I can see myself being friends with “in real life”. One such pal is Mike Carlyle from The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu. Not only does he run one of the most interesting and entertaining comics blogs around, he’s one of the nicest fellas you’d ever wanna meet. He’s helped my fledgling site out tremendously, and introduced me to several new friends as well.
Well, about a week or so back I received a care package from the deepest, darkest recesses of the crapbox. Among the bevy of issues was this copy of Lobo #1 (2014). We’re gonna take a look at some “true” ‘box finds… directly from the real–deal–crapbox! In addition to Lobo, there were a few more DC titles… one of which is going to have to wait until November… because… reason(s).
Before we pop into the synopsis… I really want to extend a sincere Thank You to Mike. You’ve helped this humble blog out so much, and I wish there was a way I could return the favor. Until then… I’m picking, digging, and arranging a “care package” myself that will be Crapbox-bound in due time!
We open in the middle of a conversation with our titular hero… and the Main Man…’s head. The more polished and slender Lobo implies that the other has been impersonating him. After a few unsuccessful attempts at offing my Lobo, new-Lobo is finally successful. He fries the poor head… and momentarily blacks out. As he passes out, he mutters “Sorry. Not…” and I swear, when I first read this I was hoping-against-hope that new-Lobo wouldn’t have the catchphrase of “Sorry, Not Sorry”… because, that would be lame, and the worst. Instead I convinced myself that he said “Sorry… NOT!” a la, Wayne’s World… perhaps a commentary on old-Lobo’s innate 90’s-ness.
We shift to a flashback in which Lobo is finishing up a painting of a Czarnian Princess, who is acting as his model. Passion gets the better of both of them, and they embrace. Lobo turns his back for a moment… and when he looks back at his lady-love, she appears to be a bleeding zombified corpse. Outside the window, the streets are flooded with similarly decomposed pedestrians.
Lobo awakens from his nightmare. We learn that on a monthly basis he gets part of his brain stem cauterized in order to prevent ever entering into a REM state… yet, his Czarnian blood causes it to heal. He is joined in his room by a crew of aliens of varying humanoid appearance. He is given a contract for eight of the deadliest assassins in the universe… and the intel that these killers are all converging on the same world… Earth.
Lobo arrives on a barren desert on Earth, and hops into his (admittedly) pretty damn cool motorcycle. This is one thing I’ll give new-Lobo over the old… this cycle is pretty sweet!
We get a look at the desert base where one of the assassins is holed up. Lobo cases the joint, and plans his approach. We get a look at his… pretty bad-ass gear. Okay, there’s another point for new-Lobo… his weaponry is fairly awesome.
He starts his unsubtle infiltration by blowing away a crew of fools. As he renders these geeks into bite-sized pieces, Lobo carries on an internal monologue wherein he reveals that his weapons were meant to be ceremonial, rather than utilitarian. We also learn about his moral code when he is confronted by alien dogs. Lobo will not kill dogs… he’ll kill most anything else… but dogs are innocent and off-limits.
He enters the base, and confronts his contract. They have a brief battle, resulting in Lobo chopping off one of the creeps four hands. He demands to know who he’s working for… to which he is pointed at a computer terminal that should have all the info. Lobo decides that the fella’s outlived his usefulness and decapitates him with the swiftness… it is here where he finally utters the words that brought forth cringiest cringe I’ve cringed in awhile… “Sorry. Not Sorry.” Bleccchhhh
Lobo gets the info, finds that this guy wasn’t an assassin at all… just a demolitions guy. Now knowing who his true target is, Lobo burns down the compound and heads out on his bad-ass bike.
Well… okay, how to begin?
This is Lobo for a new generation? I kind of feel bad saying anything negative about it… I’m not even sure he’s still in continuity in our new post-Rebirth landscape. I remember the (relative) uproar when it was announced that this would be the real Lobo… and any version we’d met previously was an imposter. I wasn’t happy with the direction, though, I stayed far outside the newz sites comments sections… knowing that the arguments wouldn’t have anything to do with character and story.
What I don’t understand is why did we need a new “handsome” Lobo? This whole story could have been told (minus the first few page “middle finger” to longtime readers) with the original-recipe Main Man! You can give the old Lobo a sensitive side! You can introduce an internal conflict to him! Perhaps the most valid complaint we’d often hear about the old Lobo… was that he was a fairly shallow character. That could have been rectified in this volume!
If DC was so high on this new character design… why not just make him a new character? We haven’t had one of those in… jeez, when did Harley Quinn first show up? This was an opportunity to create something completely new… and it feels like it was squandered on getting a few hot minutes of internet controversy by flipping off the longtime reader base. That’s probably my main problem with the entire thing… this character appears to me (and I concede that I may just be projecting) as an antagonistic thumbing of the nose toward the folks who have supported this industry (and DC Comics) for decades… and I feel ridiculous saying so. Because, I mean… is Lobo really the hill any of us want to die on???
With all this said… how was the story? Not bad. If I can separate my initial reservations… this is a perfectly serviceable story. I enjoyed the inner conflict Lobo had during his assault… and appreciated that he had a code. We get the feeling that he may be a tortured assassin, perhaps in the vain of Crying Freeman. That’s an interesting approach, and one I would have dug a ton more had they given it to the original-recipe Lobo… but, that’s neither here nor there. The art and coloring were also fantastic. I loved the… er, highlights (?) on Lobo’s face.
The character design? I actually quite like it. Not for Lobo, mind you… but it’s a striking and dynamic design, that I cannot deny. There’s a certain DeviantArt-ness about it… but, I still dig it. As mentioned above, I really like his gear. The cycle looks awesome, and I really dig his weapons. Broken record time… if he was a NEW character (or perhaps Lobo’s other-brother Lobo), this could have been a lot more fun. This book could have been a blast had it been called Lobos… and had the two characters constantly bump-heads, but comedy was clearly not the direction DC was going with this one.
If I’m being fair… I honestly think the Lobo name did this fella a grand disservice… there’s a lot of baggage that comes along with a name like that, and preconceptions to boot. He entered the market with two-strikes already against him. Quite frankly, I’m surprised this book lasted as long as it did (and that is not an indictment on the creative team!) It’s sad, because… this one did have potential.
I must admit… I almost tossed the book across the room when he said “Sorry, not sorry”… I mean, really? I suppose I can take solace in the fact that he didn’t say the word “hashtag” first… but still… soooooo damn lame. Don’t want a sassy Lobo.
Anyhoo… I feel like I’ve hit that point where I’m talking in circles… the more I write, the less of a point I make, so I’ll try and sum it all up. This book deserved better than being called Lobo. It’s not a bad book, honestly, and giving it the Lobo name just triggered a knee-jerk reaction for me to dislike it. The character design is good… the story is good… I just think this should have been his own thing. Overall, I’m glad I read this.
Before I go, I just want to thank my good pal Mike Carlyle once more for sending this one my way! Be sure to check him out at The Crapbox of Son of Cthulhu. There’s new content every week, and a wonderful back catalog to keep you occupied and entertained between posts!