Deathstroke #12

deathstroke-12

Rob Liefeld’s run on Deathstroke concludes in this issue, with the end of the Deathstroke/Lobo battle. Bare with me, as I’m still a little sketchy on how this issue ended.

It turns out the that Lobo’s release was orchestrated by Maxim (who hired Deathstroke at the start of this story) were the ones who released Lobo. The goal was to lead him and the Omegas (the alien children of Lobo’s victims) to some sort of spaceship (so Maxim could loot its weapons supply), and Deathstroke’s purpose was to take out Lobo and clean up their mess.

So how does Deathstroke off Lobo? He impaled the Czarnian with the poor alien’s own super motorcycle, flies the two of them into the upper atmosphere, and blows Lobo up. Well that was short-lived. Maybe it’s just because I’m a big fan of the character, but it seems like a cop-out to have killed him off that quickly and easily.

Deathstroke ends the story by telling off Maxim for putting the Omegas in danger for his own personal gain. Before he leaves he stops to flirt with Zealot (the Omega’s bodyguard), awkwardly kissing her and leaves. And that’s it.

Now I know I’m biased; I do like Liefeld’s stuff a lot. But this issue, well, it was pretty confusing plot wise. And that’s a shame, because I think he really over-thought it. The story could have been a lot simpler. The other thing I noticed was that the book was light on backgrounds. There were a noticeable amount of panels without them. But I guess that was a sacrifice that was made to make sure the book came out on time.

The best part of this story was the brief epilogue, where Sheba (Lobo’s girlfriend that was assumed to be deceased) is actually alive and well, albeit in suspended animation. I know the concept is borrowed from Lobo’s Back, but there is definitely something cool about imagining a female Lobo terrorizing the New 52.

Showcase ’95 #6: Lobo and Bibbo Play Cards With Dogs

Poker Night in Metropolis

Showcase ’95 #6 features two of my favorite characters from the DC Universe of the 1990s. By now you know how much I like Lobo. But this story puts him alongside longshoreman turned bar-owner Bibbo Bibbowski!

Bibbo showed up in Superman comics as an all around nice guy, kind of like a calm version of Popeye. He was always willing to lend a hand in the community and was Superman’s self-professed number one fan.

In the Bibbo/Lobo story, the bar is visited by Bibbo’s alien friend Raof. When you hang out with Superman you get to meet all kinds of interesting people.

The reunion is kind of short-lived, as a gang of alien dogs lead by Skruffy have come to Earth to enslave mankind as pets for their children puppies. Just when you thought the story couldn’t get any sillier, it does. Bibbo and Raof challenge the dogs to a high-stakes poker game where the winner gets earth. And there is an amazing two-page spread of Bibbo and the dogs playing poker that I would love a print of for my wall. The dogs realize Bibbo is cheating and thankfully Lobo saves the day. It involves a giant fire hydrant, and that’s all I’ll say. This story was written by longtime Superman editor Mike Carlin, and is worth checking out.

The other two features really didn’t do anything for me, as they were about the Legionnaires and the Science Police. I’ve never been into any of the Legion of Super Heroes. The characters and the concept just never did anything for me. The one cool thing was that the inker on one of these stories was Jim Mahfood, who has gone on to do a lot of really cool projects.

So basically Showcase ’95 #6 is good if you enjoy Lobo or the Legion, and really good if you happen to like both. However, if you don’t have any interest in either, you can skip it.

Deathstroke #10

I completely forgot about this. Deathstroke #10 is the second issue of writer/artist Rob Lifeld’s DC comics 1990s tribute series.

Lobo is loose and running wild; the opening scene of him at a diner would make any longtime Lobo fan smile. It’s silly; something that is needed for a character like this.

Deathstroke is investigating the prison that Lobo escaped from along with Zealot and the Omegas (who I think are the New 52-ized version of the Omega Men). After tussling with one of the aliens who had been serving as a warden at that jail, Deathstroke finds out that Lobo has been unleashed to kill off everyone on the planet Earth.

The final scene has Lobo off at some top secret alien crash site in Colorado where he uncloaks a massive spacecraft. One can only assume that its filled with all kinds of weaponry and such. Lobo also mutters something about a Sheba, which I can only assume is a love interest for the frag master.

I guess the next issue is going to be some sort of all action slugfest between Lobo and Deathstroke. I can’t think of anyone better suited to draw this kind of kinetic batle than Liefeld.

Deathstroke #9

Rob Liefeld. Deathstroke the Terminator. Lobo. This comic has everything that was great about the 1990s. With Hawk and Dove cancelled, Rob Liefeld moves over to Deathstroke starting with this issue.

I haven’t been following this title previously, and issue #9 establishes the Deathstroke-verse pretty quickly. Slade is at the grave of his deceased wife reminiscing, even to the point he is carrying a picture of her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone carry a picture of a loved one when going to the cemetery, but I digress. Anyway, this happy moment is spoiled.

Slade winds up dispatching some commando types and some teen meta-humans called the Omegas (I wonder if this is an allusion to the Omega Men), as apparently some sort of test by a new character named Maxim. His goal is simple: to hire Deathstroke to kill Lobo, who has escaped imprisonment. Along with the Omegas and Zealot from WildCATs fame, our mercenary hero is off to collect his bounty.

This story kind of reminds me when my younger brother and I would play super heroes as kids. We would mix all the toys together, and before you know it, Spider-Man and Batman would be riding a Wheeled Warrior vehicle against Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Anyway, this was light enough to warrant waiting for the next issue. Typical super hero comics stuff. Art wise, the one thing that I noticed was that Liefeld’s backgrounds were kind of sparse. The colorists seemed to have improvised a lot to fill the pages.

The Lobo ParaMilitary Christmas!

I bet this is one Christmas special you might not know about. The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas tells a holiday story Lobo story. Adapted from a comic by Keith Giffen, this adaptation was made by Scott Leberecht for the American Film Institutes’s direct studies program.

The film is very straight forward, if not a little grisly, with Lobo being hired by the Easter Bunny to take out Santa Claus, allowing the rabbit to take the spot as most beloved holiday figure. Does Lobo succeed in taking out Jolly Saint Nick? Watch the video to find out.

Editor's note: Not recommended to actually do this.

Do you know who played Lobo in this short? None other than Andrew Bryniarski, who played the role of Leatherface in the early 2000s remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas may not be everyone’s cup of tea during Christmastime, but it had a certain element of fun to it. This is the antidote to the sickness that comes from watching too many cutesy animals.

Green Lantern: Brightest Day

Green Lantern! Other Lanterns! Oh my.

Green Lantern: Brightest Day–with story by Geoff Johns and art by Doug Mahnke–kind of sets the status quo for ringwielding super heroes after the Blackest Knight debachle. The heads of the six families lantern groups team up for a few adventures, mostly them putting a stop to the rogue cosmic entities that power their appropriate emotional spectrum power.

That said, I enjoyed the characters and their concepts more than the story itself. It read like a video game, with repetitive challenges and plot elements. But the characters themselves are interesting. I like Larfleeze, the super greedy Orange Lantern and his obsession with material objects. And Atrocitus was pretty bad ass as the rage guy.

For me, there were really two interesting parts of this collection. Everyone’s favorite space biker/bounty hunter Lobo pays a visit, trying to collect on Atrocitus. Little did the other lanterns who came to Atrocitus’ aid know that this was a scheme to make them like him more (just like playground politics). The one interesting plotline that’s propably never going to return is that Lobo gets a Red Lantern ring.

But the most memorable story was the origin of the Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr whose story of rage is due to the kitty not being able to stop the murder of his owner. Frown. Poor little guy.

So should you read this?

I would say its passable. Althoguh Mahnke’s art is stellar, this book just kind of plodded along and really didn’t do anything for me, save for some Lobo and cat relatd hijinx.

30 Things I Like About Comics—#14 Lobo

If VH1′s series I Love The 1990s had a comic book edition, you would have to devote a whole episode to Lobo, the intergalactic bounty hunter extraordinaire. But before he was the cigar chomping fragmaster, he was actualy quite boring.

Lobo first debuted in Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen’s Omega Men #3 as just your average bountyhunter alien type way back in 1983. He sporadically appeared for a while until Giffen brought back a revamped Lobo in Justice League International.

Thanks to stuff like Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen being both critically and commercially succesful, there was a rush to make super heroes more dark and gritty throughout the late 1980s/early 1990s. For that time period, Wolverine and the Punisher were the poster children of that type of hero. There were countless knock offs of the brooding and violent hero, and the new Lobo would become an over-the-top parody.

 “I came up with him as an indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine hero prototype and somehow he caught on as the high violence poster boy. Go figure.”

Keith Giffen in a Newsarama biography

The new Lobo was still a bounty hunter, but he was super foul-mouthed and violent to the point of absurdity. He’s the last of his race the Czarnians–he killed them all in a science fair experiment gone horribly wrong. Lobo was ridiculous; everything he did was exaggerated. Lobo mania gripped the comic book world in the 1990s, as he went on to have several series and miniseries, mostly written by Giffen and Alan Grant, with art by Simon Bisley.

Here are some of the highlights of his appearances in comics:

Lobocop- just what you would expect, a Robocop Parody.

Paramilitary Christmas Special- the Easter bunny has hired Lobo to take out Santa Claus once and for all.

Infanticide- His bastard daughter puts together an army to kill him.

Lobo’s Back- After being killed, neither Heaven nor Hell want him in their respective realms, reincarnating him in different forms. Eventually he is granted immortality if he never comes back again.

Unamerican Gladiators- Lobo participates in an uber-deadly game show.

All of the Lobo books are violent, dark comedies akin to a more slapstic Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez. If you enjoyed Machete, these are comics for you. Up until last year, director Guy Ritchie was attached to bringing the “Main Man” to the big screen. But there is much more to Lobo than just being a bad-ass hitman.

Past the surface, Lobo does have some complex character traits. Most obvious is his love of animals, like his pet dog Dawg and the herds of Space Dolphins he protects. When he found out that Aquaman was friendly to dolphins, that was enough reason for him to want to be friends.Yes, Lobo is a big burly tough guy who loves animals.

He also has so many great nicknames and expressions, many that I have adapted into everyday use, including:

  • Frag (verb): to mess something up. See also fragging, fragged, frag! fraggin
  • Feetal Gizz (noun): ????; sometimes used an interjection.
  • Bastich (noun): a portmanteu of bastard and bitch.
  • The Main Man (noun): Lobo’s declaration of his universal superiority.
  • The ‘Bo (noun): short for Lobo
  • Master Frag (noun): Lobo’s declaration of him being the master of frag.
  • Mister Machete (noun): Lobo’s declaration of his penchance for using knives.
  • Scourge o’ the Cosmos (noun): Lobo’s declaration of him being the universe’s most hated person.
  • The Ultimate Bastich (noun): Lobo’s declaration of him being the universe’s biggest bastard and/or bitch.

Lobo also has a strong love/hate relationship with Superman. Obviously, Superman detest Lobo for being so violent. Lobo thinks that Supes is a wimp. But somehow, they can coexist from time to time and its always an epic story. In the Superman and Justice League cartoons, they really explored this, culminating in an episode with Lobo taking an injured (and assumed dead) Superman’s spot in the Justice League, as he felt he was the only one as physically strong and gifted as Supes.

That’s Lobo, ladies and gentlemen. If you like dark comedy and absurd cartoonish violence, this is your book.

This isn’t the first time DC Comics has tried a television commercial, you know…

With DC’s major relaunch getting closer every day, more news about their plans to support this initiative are being revealed. One of the strategies is to use television commercials to promote the line.

This isn’t the first time that comics turned to television commercials to promote comic books. Marvel regularly had commercials for their GI Joe comic book during the 1980s.

I would assume that these were produced by Marvel Productions/Sunbow Productions. Basically, this looks like Marvel and Hasbro were taking advantage of the synergy between Marvel’s publishing and animation divisions.

Anyway, this is not the first time DC produced a television commercial. Thanks to YouTube, I found this gem from 1993:

What is most interesting about this commercial is that the lesser characters get a lot of screen time. Darkstars, Deathstroke the Terminator, Mongul and the yellow ring wielding Guy Gardner all make their television debut. You can really tell this commercial is from the 1990s by the “hottest babes” sequence.

Also, did you notice that Lobo was featured the longest, as well as the only animated and speaking character in the commercial? Granted it was 1993. Death of Superman and Batman’s Knightfall were in full force,  but was Lobo the best choice to be the public face of DC?

There are a few variations of this commercial on YouTube, with different stores being advertised at the end. I would assume DC allowed retailers to customize the commercial for their markets.

Any way, lets hope that DC’s new commercials help get the message that comics are awesome out to the masses.