He’s been hacked, stabbed, dismembered and blown up. Most recently, in the pages of “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad,” Batman blew his head clean off his shoulders. But there’s just no keeping the Main Man down. Created in 1983 by Keith Giffen and Roger Slifer as a ruthless bounty hunter who hounded the Omega Men, Lobo would eventually evolve into a parody of the stereotypical ultra-violent comic book antihero and become one of DC’s most popular characters during the ‘90s.
Once again in the spotlight thanks to his upcoming appearance in Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis’ new “Justice League of America” series, DC seems committed to returning the Main Man to his former pre-New 52 glory. Without a doubt, Lobo is back in a big way, so we thought it the perfect time to drop a list of 15 things you need to know about the lovable Czarnian bastich.
SPOILER ALERT! Spoilers ahead for numerous stories published by DC Comics.
15. ALPHA DOG AND OMEGA MEN
As we can see in the image of our first entry, Lobo may have always been a bastich, but he didn’t always have the best fashion sense. In fact, when he first appeared in 1983’s “Omega Men” #3, Lobo barely resembled the musclebound mercenary space biker we’ve all come to know and love (or dread, if you have a particularly sensitive stomach). Garbed in a sleek yet garish purple and orange leotard, Lobo appears much leaner and less meaner than subsequent interpretations. Who knew Lobo had a glam phase?
In this pre-Crisis version of the character, Lobo’s origin story was also much different. Although he was still the last surviving member of his race, he wasn’t Czarnian, but Velorpian. He became the most feared bounty hunter in the Vega System after the technologically advanced Psions massacred his people, leaving him as the sole survivor. Throughout his early “Omega Men” appearances, Lobo displays the seeds of his more violent future self, but there is a definite softer edge to him as he becomes an ally of the Omega Men rather than their adversary.
14. THE LAST CZARNIAN
In the now-classic four-issue limited series “Lobo: The Last Czarnian,” Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Simon Bisley dramatically altered Lobo’s origin story, setting a drastically different tone for the character going forward. Although he was still the lone survivor of his race’s genocide, Lobo was no longer an innocent bystander of the global slaughter. Now hailing from the utopian world of Czarnia, a planet that resembled Earth in many ways, Lobo only survived the massacre because he was its architect.
In most versions of the story (and there have been a few), the cause for Lobo’s dangerous fascination with violence is that he was simply born bad. Although he’d managed to murder half the Czarnian population by the age of 16, by the time he reached 17 years old, he’d unleashed a plague that wiped out the other half and declared himself the Last Czarnian. It was a startling change of status quo that stripped Lobo of his noble origins and repositioned him as the cartoonish, hyper-violent metalhead he is today. No longer simply a grittier version of Superman, the new Lobo was his own man, who became the poster child for silly ‘90s antiheroes.
13. HIS WORD IS HIS BOND
No matter what version of the character we consider, one of Lobo’s defining traits is his reputation as a bounty hunter who always fulfills his contract. And while his motivations are typically financial rather than altruistic, in this regard, one thing is for certain: the Main Man is the Main Man because he’s reliable. If his interpretation of a contract is a little broad in some cases, then all we can say is… well, what did you expect? The guy’s an interplanetary mercenary killing machine. Morals aren’t his strong suit.
That isn’t to say Lobo doesn’t possess his own moral code. Remember, he kept a vow of peace as the Triple Fish God’s Archbishop (until he found a loophole, thanks to the Eye of Ekron) and even kept a promise to his colleague Vril Dox not to take payment for any bounties he accepted, while a member of R.E.B.E.Ls. So what if that didn’t stop him from taking a freebie contract to whack the cosmic despot known as “Gawd?” The fact remains, Lobo is a man of his word, the type of guy you always want for your team rather than against it.
12. THE IMMORTAL ONE?
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s damn near impossible to kill a Czarnian by conventional means. By his own words (which doesn’t actually mean much, given his penchant for exaggeration), only a Czarnian can kill another Czarnian. That doesn’t mean Lobo can’t be stopped. Booster Gold outlasted him with a simple force field, while Batman took the much more expedient route of injecting him with one of Amanda Waller’s patented brain bombs and literally separated his head form his shoulders. (Don’t worry, it grew back.)
He also has the vaguely-defined ability to separate his consciousness from his body, when he sustains too much damage and can regenerate himself from a single drop of blood. Even Heaven and Hell couldn’t take him. In 1992’s “Lobo’s Back,” after a battle with Death, Lobo slaughtered his way across the afterlife, tearing through all of the demons of Hell and all of the angels of Heaven. The end result was that he was banned from both regions of the afterlife, effectively making him immortal by default.
11. SPACE DOLPHIN ADVOCATE
Nobody knows why Lobo loves space dolphins so much, but they are the only beings in the universe he won’t harm. Resembling Terran bottlenose dolphins in appearance, space dolphins are a communal, peace-loving race and pretty much the only beings in the universe that can calm the Main Man down. Lobo loves the critters so much he’s taken payment for completed contracts in dolphin food and has even been shown frolicking playfully with his beloved cetaceans on more than one occasion. His love of dolphins runs so deep, he was unable to fight Aquaman, who he discovered was raised by a dolphin named Porm.
If that weren’t enough, when Space Sector 3500 was inundated by refugees fleeing Lady Styx, Lobo became their spiritual leader as the Archbishop of the First Celestial Church of the Triple Fish God. The role called for Lobo to take a vow forsaking violence, which he only agreed to out of deference to his dolphin pals. He was finally able to rid himself of the troublesome position, when he killed the Triple Fish God using the notorious Emerald Eye of Ekron. Stick that in your blowhole, Triple Fish God!
10. KILLER RIDE
Lobo’s preferred mode of transportation is his beloved SpazFrag666, better known to the universe at large as “the Spacehog.” Debuting alongside Lobo in “Omega Men” #3, the Spacehog, like its owner, has undergone significant upgrades over the course of its long service. According to the specs provided in “The Last Czarnian” limited series, the Spacehog boasts a miniaturized 17-liter powerplant with triple turbo capabilities and hands-off facility. Its top speed rests somewhere in the millions of kilometers per minute. Thankfully, it runs on Unleaded.
Custom designed by the Main Man himself, the Spacehog is capable of traversing the cold vacuum of space, without harm coming to its riders and can even travel through time thanks to tech salvaged from a decommissioned time hopper. The Spacehog is more than the sum total of its parts, though. Like his ever-present meat hook, Lobo’s ride is a statement piece, a symbol of the Main Man’s adherence to the intergalactic lifestyle that has made him the most feared bastich in the universe.
9. DESTRUCTIVE GENIUS
Thanks to his rough-and-tumble exterior, it’s easy to write Lobo off as a one-dimensional bruiser, whose only talent is causing widespread destruction. However, underestimating the Main Man’s genius for destruction would be unwise. Lobo is by no means a stupid guy. Let’s not forget it was Lobo who killed off the entire Czarnian race by introducing a killer virus that he engineered himself. And those time travel capabilities built into the Spacehog? That was all Lobo, too.
Lobo’s intelligence isn’t simply limited to devising weapons of mass destruction and advanced interstellar motorcycle mechanics. Despite his brawling fighting style, Lobo is a master of several martial arts from across the galaxy. He’s also an expert tracker and a multicultural, omni-lingual man of the people, who can speak over 17,000 intergalactic languages. His knowledge of thousands of different cultures and planets borders on the encyclopedic and comes in handy on his far-ranging bounties.
8. RED LANTERN
Before the New 52 effectively gelded the Main Man, Lobo came into the possession of a powerful Red Lantern ring. We know what you’re thinking. Let’s give one of the vilest beings in the entire universe a WMD that fits on his finger. Thankfully, while it was in his possession, Lobo preferred to rely on his other gifts and kept the ring on a chain around his neck. If you’re wondering whose brilliant idea this was, look no further than Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lanterns, and one of the few beings in the universe whose pissy disposition rivals Lobo’s own.
It all happened during DC’s much-heralded but inevitably futile “Brightest Day” event, in the pages of “Green Lantern” #54. When an opportunity to collect a bounty on Atrocitus’s head presents itself, Lobo is the first merc on the scene. The job also pushes him into a battle with Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Sinestro, but after a lackluster, half-assed showing, Lobo bails inexplicably. His uncharacteristic retreat doesn’t sit well with Jordan and it’s later revealed the gig was a ruse perpetrated by Atrocitus himself, in order to gain the trust of the other Lantern Corps in the New Guardians. The payment? A red Lantern ring, of course, which Lobo decided to “save for a rainy day.”
7. SO LONG, MISS TRIBB
While most of us look back fondly on our fourth grade teachers, such was not the case for Lobo. In “Lobo: The Last Czarnian,” the Main Man discovers that he is not the only surviving member of his race, when he accepts a contract to escort his fourth grade teacher, Miss Tribb, to his employer and L.E.G.I.O.N. colleague, Vril Dox. Unfortunately, the contract stipulated the subject had to be delivered alive to Dox, so Lobo was stuck protecting the old bird from all manner of bounty hunter scum, like the Legion of Decency and the Orthography Commandos.
By the end of the series, Lobo had endured a variety of bizarre and humiliating trials and racked up a body count of planetary proportions (the pleasure planet Revel-7, alas, was pleasurable no more), but managed to deliver Miss Tribb to Vril Dox alive and well. Having fulfilled his contract to Dox, he promptly snapped Miss Tribb’s neck like a twig, once again secure in his title as the undisputed last Czarnian.
6. SUPERMAN STRONG
As the most feared homicidal, genocidal, interstellar chopper-riding bounty hunter in the universe, it only stands to reason that Lobo’s power set is right up there with the rest of DC’s super-powered heavyweights. Not only does he possess a healing factor that would make Deadpool jealous, Lobo’s Czarnian physiology also gives him immense strength and stamina, allowing him to commit countless atrocities without breaking a sweat. In fact, he’s so powerful he gave Justice League members Big Barda and the Martian Manhunter a run for their money, almost killing the latter in the process, no mean feat, considering even Superman believes J’onn J’onzz to be one of the most powerful heroes in the DCU.
Speaking of the big blue boy scout, Lobo is so strong that he’s one of the few beings in the universe able to chuck knuckles with Supes and give him a run for his money. He’s fought the Man of Steel on more than one occasion, with no clear winner and continues to intermittently plague the do-gooder just to see who would come out the victor. After all, there can only be one Main Man in the universe and we all know who that is.
5. THE MULTIPLE (MAIN) MAN
One of Lobo’s most unique powers is his ability to clone duplicates of himself from every drop of his blood that an adversary spills. Apparently, this is an ability all Czarnians possessed (until Lobo created the pathogen that killed them all), but one that has been ill-defined and rarely used over the years. At one point, Vril Dox even managed to remove the ability until it resurfaced after Lobo was de-aged by Klarion the Witchboy and killed during a mission to Apokolips with Young Justice. Upon his death, a veritable horde of Lobo clones arose from the copious amount of blood left over from his gruesome demise. A massive battle ensued between the rapidly aging clones until finally one adult Main Man emerged victorious. Or so it would seem.
One clone, dubbed Slobo, also survived the disastrous mission to Apokolips, but his DNA was unstable and his body started to degenerate. In a last heroic (and patently un-Lobo-like) act, Slobo sacrificed himself to save his Young Justice teammate, the Secret, from Darkseid’s Omega Beams, which transported Slobo to the 853rd century, where he was trapped in his own honorary statue in the future Young Justice’s lair.
Christmas took a decidedly gory turn with the release of “The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special” #1 by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Simon Bisley. Within these festive pages, Lobo accepts one of his most controversial contracts to date. Fueled by a long-simmering jealous rage and tired of being upstaged by Christmas, an inebriated Easter Bunny hires Lobo to whack Santa Claus. Never one to look a gift reindeer in the mouth, Lobo readily accepts the job and immediately sets about killing not only Santa but pretty much anything and everything Christmas related.
After slaughtering his way through an army of elf-guards, Lobo throws down with good ol’ Kris “Crusher” Kringle in a vicious knife fight for the ages. Despite an early stalemate, during which Santa gave a surprisingly strong accounting of himself, Lobo decapitates the jolly old thug with one of his own kukris. But if you thought that was the end of things, you’re sadly mistaken. After raining down terror and death from the skies on the homes of all the bad kids in Santa’s stolen sleigh, Lobo closes out the issue by executing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, killing the last of our Christmas cheer with one final bullet.
3. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
If one thing has become abundantly clear throughout our list, it’s that Lobo is no stranger to controversy. Whether he’s accepting contracts on “Gawd” or murdering Santa Claus, the Main Man courts controversy with a zeal only matched by his passion for violence. However, controversy comes in many forms. Take DC’s current crossover series “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad,” for example. More than a traditional slugfest between the two titular teams, the six-issue mini also rewrites a major piece of DCU history.
To further his efforts of securing Eclipso’s Heart of Darkness gem, Max Lord breaks out a crew of criminals so dangerous Amanda Waller had them locked up in hidden black site and basically threw away the key. Dubbed the “first” Suicide Squad by Waller, Johnny Sorrow, Doctor Polaris, Emerald Empress, Rustam and the pre-New 52 Main Main were incarcerated because they were too dangerous to risk letting them fall into the wrong hands. The revelation sparked outrage across the Internet, as fans reacted strongly to the seemingly unnecessary retcon. Be that as it may, it doesn’t change the fact that after a lengthy absence, the one, true Lobo was back in action in DC’s new post-Rebirth continuity.
2. “BETTER TO LEAVE HIM ON THE SHELF”
So, here does that leave the ill-considered, poorly-received pretender that slouched his way into the DCU during the New 52? Well, to be blunt, it leaves him quite literally shelved. Universally panned by fans and critics alike, DC’s attempt to reboot Lobo as a younger, sleeker goth antihero was, to some, the most harebrained move of the entire New 52 relaunch, second only to the prolonged absence of characters like the original Wally West. The publisher only fanned the fires of fanboy outrage when they made a spectacle of goth Lobo killing off the Main Man in the pages of his short-lived ongoing series.
DC’s Rebirth soft reboot provided the publisher with an opportunity to set the record straight and correct its past mistakes. In the most recent issue of “Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps,” the New 52 Lobo is one of many specimens Orange Lantern avatar Larfleeze and Brainiac have collected. When Guy Gardner attempts to free the goth pretender from his jar, Hal Jordan appears in the nick of time stating, “Not that one. Trust me. Better to leave him on the shelf.” Lobo fanboys everywhere rejoiced.
1. THE MAIN MAN ON THE MAIN STAGE
Did you know that in 2002, Lobo was the star of his own MTV show? Yah, we’d forgotten that interesting little tidbit, too. So we thought it only appropriate to round out our list with a reminder of just how popular Lobo has become since his debut all those years ago in the pages of “Omega Men.” Few characters in DC’s canon have been able to sustain the level of popularity Lobo has enjoyed over the past 34 years and fewer still were created during the Bronze Age of Comics.
Banking on his unconventional, ultra-violent personality and the inescapable nostalgia readers have for the comics of their youth, DC seems to be betting on our unrelenting love for the Main Man. Not only will he be a key player in February’s upcoming relaunch of “Justice League of America,” but the Internet is abuzz with rumors of a potential feature film, thanks to an Instagram post by screenwriter Jason Fuchs that carried the hashtag “#portraitofabastich.” With the inarguable success of R-rated superhero flicks like “Deadpool” proving there’s a market for balls-to-wall ultra-violent comic book movies, we can only hope that Lobo gets his shot at mainstream superstardom.
Bastichs unite! Let us know what we don’t know about Lobo in the Comments!
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