A book starring Lobo and two brand new characters really doesn’t seem to have much cache, especially with the “Main Man’s” peak popularity somewhere in the past. Of course, those two new characters are created by a pair of fan-favorite artists, and that’s really the only thing saving this book for me. Lopresti’s art is always entertaining and Kevin Maguire is on my personal “I’ll Buy Anything Drawn By. . .” short list.
Van Hook’s Lobo story is, well, it’s a Lobo story. Van Hook aims to prove Lobo’s badassery, and does so in this installment, complete with blood-spattering, dismembering, laser blasts to the brain, and jawbones being ripped out. It’s odd to see Jerry Ordway rendering so much explicit gore, but it is here nonetheless. Ordway’s work is packed with detail and masterful storytelling as always, but the story is less than inspired.
Following the Lobo issue-opener is the beginning of the legend of Garbage Man. Yeah. Garbage Man.
Lopresti is no stranger to mucky monsters, having drawn “Sludge” way back when for Malibu. Lopresti does the grotesque, hulking, oozing man monsters with flair. I certainly wish DC and Vertigo would get their act together with the whole Swamp Thing issue so Aaron Lopresti could draw up some killer Swamp Thing pages rather than this pale imitation, generic Swamp Thing story we get in this issue. I can appreciate the fact that Lopresti is given a chance to flex his writing muscles here, and I understand that Swamp Thing is currently untouchable, but this story is just a little too overtly aimed at filling Swamp Thing’s void for me. Lopresti may have designs to move Garbage Man away from Swamp Thing in presence and purpose, but for now the two concepts may as well be conjoined. It’s an entertaining tale, but as the vile Doctor Clive points out in the story itself, “It’s a cliche.” Ironic that the line following that statement is, “Of course, if someone would just get it right, we could all move on to something else.”
That something else we move on to in this issue comes in the form of a lilac-colored lovely lady drawn by Kevin Maguire. Somewhere around 2007, I had the opportunity to interview Kevin Maguire and he mentioned that he was hoping to “write and draw a series about a space girl, preferably at DC, but nothing’s been set contractually.” Since then, it looks like things have been set, and here they are. Of the three stories in this issue (which feels like it has four stories due to the lengthy “DC Universe Online Legends” preview) this one has the most potential. It features an alien (to the reader) exploring the vast reaches of outer space. Nothing is known about her coming in, and during the story, itself, the only things we learn are the things that Tanga chooses to share: she knows (or knows of) Lobo and she has a “misunderstanding” with the Green Lanterns. Those are two story seeds I’m looking forward to watching grow under Maguire’s pen.
As far as anthologies go, this one is pretty damn flat. Lobo does what Lobo does, which is maim and kill, drink, smoke, and insult people. Garbage Man feels like a cardboard cutout. Tanga has potential, but nothing to latch onto at this point. I’m not sure what the goal was here, as the three characters have different drivers for their stories. “Weird Worlds” is weird alright, but it’s not the worlds in the story bringing the weird. At least it’s got great art.