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Real Name:  Lobo

Voiced by Brad Garrett

Born on the idyllic paradise known as Czarnia, Lobo was an anomaly—a violent, sadistic maniac on a world of enlightened pacifists.  Taking advantage of his situation, Lobo did what he pleased, drank what he pleased, and killed who he pleased, until his eighteenth birthday, when he slaughtered the entire population of his planet so he could be unique in the universe.  Realizing that he had a knack for destruction and violence, Lobo decided become a mercenary.

In the years since that fateful day, Lobo has successfully established himself as the universe’s foremost bounty hunter and assassin.  Showing no favoritism, the Main Man (as he calls himself) will work for anyone, provided that they can afford his services.  The added expense is worth it, however, as once Lobo is on a job, he will not stop until it is complete.  Capable of tracking quarry across vast distances, Lobo will go to any lengths necessary to finish a mission—no body count too high, no amount of damage too great—as he considers his word sacred and refuses to renege on a deal once it is made.  And once his target is cornered, Lobo quickly dispatches his opponent using his arsenal of weapons, super-strength, and limitless regenerative abilities.

Cruising the galaxies on his customized SpazFrag 666 intergalacticycle, Lobo spends his off-hours drinking, fighting, and picking up women.  But make no mistake:  whether he's drunk or sober, and whether you're a client, target, or bystander; Lobo is the last person that you would ever want to meet.

Keith Giffen on Lobo (circa 1995):  "I do hate Lobo.  Of course I do.  Lobo is a reprehensible character.  How could anyone not hate him?  The thing is, Lobo was created as an indictment of the sort of mindlessly violent characters you find in too many comics, and instead he became a role model for them.  So I hate him, but that doesn't mean I didn't like telling stories about him (courtesy of Wizard Magazine)."

Alan Grant on Lobo and Superman (circa 1994):  "For some time now, Barry Kitson and I have been talking about doing a "Lobo / Superman:  Last Sons" team-up, wherein we [would] explore the deep relationship possible between two men from strikingly similar backgrounds—one the sole survivor of a destroyed world he will forever mourn, the other the sole survivor of a world he destroyed himself and still chuckles about sometimes (courtesy of Wizard Magazine)."

 

Images

Lobo Model Design Sheet | Lobo Image #1 (STAS Design)

Lobo Image #2 | Lobo Image #3 | Lobo Image #4

 

Commentary

I'm givin' you geeks ten seconds before I frag everything in sight!  One...TEN!!!

Lobo (to a crowded bar room) in The Main Man

A late addition to the DC Comics’ pantheon, Lobo debuted in 1983 in the pages of the Omega Men, albeit with shorter hair and a garish, orange-and-purple spandex costume (seen here).  It wasn’t until years later that creator Keith Giffen redesigned Lobo into his current “biker” look, which he used in the pages of Justice League International.  Continued guest appearances fueled his popularity, which led to a series of mini-series, sixty-four issues of an ongoing series, and frequent guest appearances across the DC Comics’ line.  Unfortunately, this led to overexposure and a decline in sales, which resulted in a period of inactivity for the character.  However, his fortunes are returning, as Giffen returned to his character for last year’s Lobo Unbound mini-series, which provided a new starting point for the Main Man.  In terms of animation, a web-based animated series was developed for Warner Bros.’ website following his appearances on Superman, but a planned Lobo animated series for network television fell through.  As DC Comics’ favorite bad boy, Lobo is roughly equivalent to Marvel Comics’ Wolverine terms of guest appearances and a devoted cult fan base.

Virtually unchanged from his appearances on Superman, the character is, nevertheless, significantly different from his comic book roots, as his modus operandi has been simplified for younger audiences.  Much like appearances by Carnage and the Punisher on FOX Kids’ Spider-Man series of the mid-1990s, Lobo had to be toned down in terms of his activities, resulting in a character that alluded to excessive violence without perpetuating much of it on camera.  Gone was the “kill ‘em all” approach to bounty hunting, as well as his trademark metal hook (seen briefly on Superman, but replaced by a crowbar in most scenes), as he took his targets alive rather than dead.  In terms of his appearance in Hereafter, he was afforded much more leeway in terms of violence—his fight with Kalibak was acceptable largely because he was a powerful opponent—but the comic book Lobo would have killed the son of Darkseid, whether he knew who he was or not, and—depending on who wrote the episode—would probably have killed the Justice League as well.

Speaking of Hereafter, Lobo’s appearance on Justice League raises a major question:  why did Lobo choose to return to Earth after promising Superman that he wouldn’t?  His presence in the episode goes against the pledge made in The Main Man, as he vowed to leave Earth alone in exchange for Superman’s help in escaping the Preserver’s jail; which, for a man who considers his word sacred, it is a bit puzzling.  However, as is the case with most contracts, one must look closely at the exact words used:

Superman:  If I let you out, do you swear to leave me and everyone else on Earth in peace?

Lobo:  The Main Man’s word is his bond, man.

Much like making a deal with Marvel Comics’ Dr. Doom, Lobo is choosing to honor the exact phrasing of the agreement—he’ll leave Superman and the Earth in peace; if one is dropped from the equation, the contract is null and void, allowing Lobo to return (which also explains why he left with little fuss when Superman turned up alive).  As for how he found out about Superman’s death initially, we need only remember the presence of the Green Lantern Corps at his funeral, which facilitated the spread of the news.  While not as well known as other figures, Superman is probably a minor interplanetary celebrity due to his good works (uncovering the Manhunter’s plot in In Blackest Night, his liberation of enslaved planets in War World and the Superman episode Absolute Power, etc.).

Hereafter marks Lobo’s fourth appearance on either show (in addition to Hereafter and the two-part The Main Man, Lobo made a cameo in the Superman episode Warrior Queen), which is wise decision on the part of the creative team, considering the character.  Much like the Joker and Mr. Mxyzptlk, Lobo exists on the series as more cartoon character than most and, as a result, his presence drags the series into a more cartoonish direction.  For example, while the Justice League members need to wear spacesuits to survive in vacuum, Lobo flies around on a rocket-powered motorcycle, able to handle the vacuum and absence of air (even if the bike generates an atmosphere, he left his bike to fight Superman in Part One of The Main Man…he was even able to talk in vacuum!).  Also, whereas a laser beam to the face would knock one of the other characters back or injure them severely, Lobo will merely stand there, blackened and smoking like Wile E. Coyote when an ACME-brand bomb goes off prematurely, but will be back to normal in the next scene.  While a character worthy of inclusion on this series—serving as a contrast to the Man of Steel—Lobo is good only in small doses, as frequent appearances would undermine the credibility of the Justice League’s realistic universe.

 

Images courtesy of Toon Zone, the New Batman/Superman Adventures Homepage, Warner Bros. Originals, Lobo Brazil, The World's Finest, and the Art of Steven E. Gordon.

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