It was inevitable that, sooner or later, a new “Lobo” series would show up at DC Comics. Editorial had certainly been preparing for it; with first a typical version of the character showing up in the rebooted line’s comics, then a new incarnation (claiming the other stole his name) being ushered on-panel, the writing was on the wall. But unfortunately, this take on the character from Cullen Bunn, Reilly Brown and Nelson DeCastro feels disappointingly generic.
“Lobo” #1 introduces the new Lobo, as well as (theoretically) putting an end to the “imposter” old-school Lobo that was also running around the DC Universe, all in quick order. In fact, it’s in such a quick manner that it’s hard to keep from feeling that Bunn did so because the newer Lobo lacks something that the old Lobo had: a memorable personality. When told right, a story with the old Lobo was one where distinctly about that character; the death-metal-space-biker who killed people in dark and disturbing manners while laughing all the while wasn’t quite like any other character on the market.
Looking at the new “Lobo” #1, though, once we’re down to just one Lobo (and after just three pages) there’s no hook to make him stand out. Here, Lobo’s accepting contracts to kill people, and that’s something that the DC Universe is full of. Heck, by the end of this month there will be two other series starring characters who just that: “Deathstroke” and “Harley Quinn.” Harley Quinn has an off-beat sense of humor, and while it’s too early to say what Tony Daniel’s take on Deathstroke will be, at least there’s the “Arrow” television series connection to bring readers on board. So where’s the attraction for “Lobo”? It’s unclear. There’s nothing unique, nothing special about the character here. He rides around, kills people, and rides around some more. Bunn tries in places — giving Lobo dreams of the old days that he’s trying to suppress, and having a love for dogs — but so far nothing’s concrete or intriguing enough to grab onto. This is hopelessly generic; any contract killer could take Lobo’s place starting on page 4.
Brown and DeCastro’s art looks nice, at least. Shifting over to a crosshatched, sketch-inspired style for Lobo’s dreams (as an artist no less, so it even fits the script) is a nice touch, and Brown can certainly draw alien humanoids too. Everyone here is slick looking, and his montage of those marked for death shows a nice mixture of character designs. That said, either I missed a big event in the DC Universe, or something’s gone horribly wrong with Brown’s map of the Great Lakes. It’s a strange misstep in a book that otherwise looks good.
The original “Lobo” mini-series instantly grabbed readers with a perverse charm mixed with ultra-violence, but there’s none of that here. This feels like a “Lobo” book that exists for the sake of having a “Lobo” book, not because there was a particularly interesting pitch that came across an editor’s desk. I’m happy to see Bunn, Brown and DeCastro getting work, but this just isn’t quite there. “Lobo” #1 isn’t bad, it’s sadly forgettable. Ultimately, that’s the more dangerous of the two options in terms of surviving in today’s market.