Rating: 3/5 – Out With the Old, In With the New.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas
In the opening panels of the first issue of Lobo, it’s clear that this New 52 Lobo is here to stay. Like it or not, DC is moving forward with this interpretation of the character that’s truly different in not only appearance from the original DC Lobo, but also in character. This is one of DC’s more controversial changes as it looks to forget the satirical and over the top violent character that was at his most popular in the 1990s, and replace him with this new and more “real” version of the crazy Czarnian. Unfortunately, this new character sits right in the middle of what came before and something completely new which ultimately makes him seem like just a pale shadow of the original.
Although writer Cullen Bunn hints at a larger backstory between the two versions, that story looks as though it will have to wait while this version gets the time he needs to hopefully appeal to a new audience. The new Lobo is forced to take a job to stop eight of the most deadly assassins in the galaxy from killing a mysterious target. The why and who of the mission is yet to be explained, but the action picks up quickly as Lobo comes to face-to-face with the first assassin.
The strong part of this issue comes with Reilly Brown’s art. It’s a fun style that can definitely work for a book like this that has a lot of blood and violence. Brown’s art switches between two different styles for the present day and flashback scenes. The assassin designs are fun and look as though they’ll provide some great visuals in future issues. The alien worlds, landscapes and technology are all nicely rendered. Unfortunately the art can’t make up for the lack of originality that I felt from this new character and this world. As Bunn attempts to create a “new” character that tries to be so many things, he’s created something someone who lacks something that can set him apart.
It’s a solid premise, but failed for me because of the poor characterization. Lobo is extremely violent and deadly in one page, but also romantic and charming in another. He’s confident and funny in some panels, and thoughtful and deep in others. Throughout this issue he’s a little bit of everything, which makes him feel generic. Whether you liked the old Lobo or not, there was something original and authentic about the character that’s surely missing here. Cullen Bunn is playing the hand that was dealt to him, which seems to be writing a comic about a character changed for the New 52 by DC editorial mandate moreso than by some driving creative need. Another example of “change for the sake of change”? You be the judge. I won’t be back.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture