Lobo is an inter-galactic bounty hunter who has been a recurring nuisance to Superman.
Lobo was originally a regular character in Keith Giffen and Roger Slifer’s Green Lantern spin-off Omega Men. At that time, he was a Velorpian whose entire race had been exterminated by Psions; his origin was later retconned. After a well-received appearance in Justice League International, Lobo became a regular character in L.E.G.I.O.N. and its successor series R.E.B.E.L.S. In 1990, he appeared in his own miniseries, Lobo: The Last Czarnian, plotted by Giffen, written by Alan Grant and with art by Simon Bisley, which changed his origin story: he became the last Czarnian after violently killing every other member of the species.
Grant's humor and Bisley's art helped to make this four-issue series a hit, leading to many subsequent miniseries and specials. These include Lobocop (a RoboCop parody); Blazing Chain of Love (in which he is sent on a job to a harem); Paramilitary Christmas Special (in which he is contracted by the Easter Bunny to assassinate Santa Claus); Infanticide (where he kills his daughter and all of his other bastard offspring that she has gathered to try to kill him); Convention Special (a send-up of comic book conventions); and Unamerican Gladiators (in which Lobo takes part in a deadly televised game show). Lobo also starred in his own title for 64 issues, from 1993 to 1999.
Over the years, Lobo has regularly made guest appearances in other series, even in cross-company interactions with such non-DC characters as The Mask, Judge Dredd, and the Authority. During the DC vs. Marvel crossover series, he fought Wolverine and lost due to popular vote by real-life fans. He also appeared very briefly in the JLA/Avengers intercompany crossover and is shown fighting members of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, though the outcome is never shown.
In the Lobo series and miniseries, everything is excessive, from the main character's perversions, mindless violence, and vocabulary to the grungy color palette and grotesque graphics. He commonly refers to "do-gooder" superheroes as "The Big Cheese." Everything in the series is laughable (in the sense of being ridiculous, if not always amusing), even his profanities ("frag," "Feetal's Gizz," and "bastich"; the latter a portmanteau of "bastard" and "son of a bitch"), which are used to replace vocabulary unwanted by a family-friendly DC and to satirize similar expressions in other comics.
Lobo has made a few appearances in the animated series of the 1990s/2000s-era DC animated universe. At one point, an animated series and video game starring the character were to be released, but both were canceled.
In 2009 Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and Sam Kieth collaborated to create "Lobo: Highway to Hell", released in November of the same year. Lobo had first discovered Anthrax in a 1991 issue of The Demon in which he sang along to their song "I am the Law."
Fictional character biography
Lobo is a Czarnian (originally a Velorpian in the Omega Men series) with exceptional strength and fortitude. He enjoys nothing better than mindless violence and intoxication. Killing is an end in itself; his name is Thusly for "he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it." He is also arrogant and self-centered, focusing almost solely on his own pleasures, although he proudly lives up to his word – but exactly his word: no more or no less than what he promised. Lobo is the last of his kind, having committed complete genocide by killing all the other Czarnians for fun (as originally written, Psions had exterminated his race, but after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, this was retconned). As detailed in Lobo #0, Lobo unleashed a violent plague (a hybrid of flying scorpions) upon his homeworld, killing most of its citizens. In Superman: The Animated Series, Lobo nonchalantly tells Superman the fate of his race: "I'm the last Czarnian. I fragged the rest of the planet for my high school science project. Gave myself an A." The first appearance of Lobo.Lobo's friends include Dawg, a bulldog that he often claims is not his when it gets into trouble; Jonas Glim, a fellow bounty hunter; Ramona, a bail bondswoman/hairdresser; and Guy Gardner, cemented when Lobo came by Guy's bar Warriors where he gave Guy one of his Space Hogs and the skull of the Tormock leader Bronkk. Dawg is stomped to death by Lobo in Lobo #58 in which he claims to Superman that the dog is not his (for the final time). However, Dawg later appears alongside Lobo when Lobo goes to Earth to fight Green Lantern and Atrocitus. His enemies include the do-gooder superhero parody Goldstar, Loo, Vril Dox, Bludhound, Etrigan the Demon, and General Glory. Lobo generally tries to kill anyone he's hired to capture, including his fourth-grade teacher named Miss Tribb, his children, Santa Claus, and Gawd. Simon Bisley's dark humor fits well within the pages of his artwork by having countless mutilations of background characters occurring in each panel.
Physically, Lobo resembles a chalk-white human male with blood-red pupilless eyes surrounded by black eye shadow-like patches. Like many comic book characters, Lobo's body is highly muscular. Although he was originally portrayed as having neatly trimmed purple-grey hair, this was soon redesigned to be a long, straggly, grey-black mane, and more recently into dreadlocks. Similarly, the orange-and-purple leotard he wore in his first few appearances has long since been replaced by black leather biker gear, which more recently has been replaced with both the robes of his office – as putative Archbishop of the Church of the Triple-Fish God – and seemingly pirate-inspired gear. His arsenal includes numerous guns and a titanium chain with a hook on his right arm. Extra weapons may include "frag grenades" and giant carving blades.
In addition to his ever-present lust for violence (or rather, in spite of it), Lobo also has a strict personal code of honor – he will never violate the letter of an agreement (he said in Superman: TAS that "The Main Man's word is his bond."), although he may gleefully disregard its spirit. Also, he is surprisingly protective of space dolphins, some of which he feeds from his home. A few have been killed in separate incidents, which he avenges with his usual violence.
Lobo frequents the business of Al, a rotund diner operator, where he frequently flirts with Al's only waitress, Darlene. Though Lobo protects these two from any harm, the danger of which is frequent, he doesn't seem to understand the distress caused by his tendency to destroy the diner. Al and Darlene later prosper due to Lobo's appetite for destruction; he destroys the city, except for the diner, leaving hordes of construction workers only one place to eat lunch. He also ends up destroying a diner Al gives to him as part of a birthday celebration.
The last of the relation of Lobo and the diner appears to be in the pages of Lobo One Million, where his last adventure is depicted. By the time of the action, he's already morbidly obese and working as a carnival attraction, scaring tourists into leaving their money behind. Then, a sexy client appears to offer him a last job: to find a legendary evildoer named Malo Perverso. At the prospect of a last well-paid job and a chance to score with the client, Lobo quickly agrees, and again invades the diner to use their Tesseract teleporter to reach his gear. It is revealed then the "client" is none other than Darlene, who wanted to see him back in his prime rather than see him sink even deeper into sloth. After reaching his gear, Lobo invades the HQ of the JLWB (Justice League of Wannabes) and crushes all opposition in order to hack their files on Malo Perverso. There, he is attacked by Perverso himself, who then reveals himself to be Clayman, the team's shapeshifter, who admits he impersonated Perverso to get rid of Lobo. Clayman also squeals where the real Perverso went: into a black hole. Lobo, still eager to find his bounty, goes into the black hole. Ironically, due to Lobo's interference in a planetary conflict in the same issue, Al later gets a package through Tesseract for Lobo - which promptly blows the diner up yet again.
At one point, Lobo has trouble with a clone of himself that had survived previous misadventures. A battle between the two makes it unclear which of them survived. Some fans conclude that the original Lobo was the victor, since later in the series, Lobo removes a miniature radio which he had surgically implanted in his head some time before the clone fight, and only organic matter can be cloned.
The character has participated in several money-making schemes, such as being a priest and being a pop-rock idol. Most of these schemes tend to end with the violent deaths of nearly everyone involved. He has many friends among the bounty hunter world, though many tend to die around Lobo, either by his hand or at the hands of enemies he faces.
Lobo has clashed (and cooperated) with Superman. He has also encountered Batman several times, although one of these encounters was in Elseworlds continuity. He has both fought and teamed up with Guy Gardner more than once, helping him to destroy various alien threats to Earth. Lobo often visits Warriors, Guy's bar, where he enjoys free drinks.
He fights Aquaman when a traveling space dolphin visiting Earth is killed by Japanese fishermen. He ceases fighting when he learns Aquaman is not only a friend to dolphins but was raised by them. "Aw, frag," mutters Lobo. "Now I gotta be civil." Although Lobo feels he cannot hurt a fellow dolphin lover, he has no such mercy for the fishermen.
Lobo also appeared several times in the pages of The Authority. In one such appearance, Jenny Quantum finds a comic book detailing Lobo's murder of Santa Claus; she experiences a fit of rage and confusion. She breaks the barrier between her dimension and the dimension Lobo inhabits in the comic book, and Lobo finds himself in a fight with The Authority.
In the two-part Lobo vs The Mask crossover, Lobo is hired for the sum of one billion credits by a council of survivors of several devastated planets to track down the individual responsible. His trail leads to Earth, where Lobo encounters the current wearer of an ancient mask. The resulting battle destroys Manhattan and leaves Lobo as nothing but a severed head, waiting for his body to re-grow. Big Head, convincing Lobo he wants the previous mask wearer, agrees to a team-up to hunt the "Ultimate Bastich" down. Big Head leads Lobo on a chase to nowhere, killing even more and blowing up a solar system in the process. Fed up with Big Head, Lobo uses a special "guilt grenade" to force the wearer to remove the mask so that he can use it himself. Lobo promptly kills an entire intergalactic bar full of aliens, and is sucked into a wormhole on his ride through space. Landing in parts unknown, Lobo/Mask heads to a single planet where, crashing the 400th annual Feel Good Games, he insults a king, and proceeds to kill numerous people. A crayon drawing left on his bike with the words "YOU SMELL" incurs his wrath, and he destroys numerous planets hunting down the one who drew the insulting picture. Waking up one day, Lobo finds himself back on Earth, and realizes the mask used him. Tossing it away, he proceeds to leave only to pass himself arriving on Earth. As it turns out, the wormhole sent him back in time roughly one month. He had been hired to hunt himself, and the alley where he dumped the mask was the same alley where the pickpocket would find it in Part 1. However, Lobo breaks the time loop, literally turning himself in as he shaves the other Lobo's head and paints him green for the reward money. Meanwhile, Big Head, realizing that Lobo has broken the loop, decides to have fun of its own on Earth.
Lobo has also had run-ins with Hitman, Judge Dredd, Valor, Starman, The Ray, Deadman, Green Lantern, and the JLA, among others.
"Coach Lobo" sends the Tiny Titans on a race around the world in issue #16 of that series. In a tirade about the laziness of his students, Lobo reveals that, "Back on my planet, when I was a kid, I had to run to school uphill both ways!... Uphill in the rain and snow together! Volcanoes were erupting all around us! Dolphins were everywhere! All we had for fun was exercise!"
In the Amalgam Comics universe, Lobo is fused with Howard the Duck to become Lobo the Duck.
Main article: L.E.G.I.O.N.Lobo acts as an independent bounty hunter until tricked by Vril Dox into nominally joining his interstellar police force, L.E.G.I.O.N. However, he continues solo activity, which seems to often bring him to Earth and in conflict with its heroes. Or, as in one case, base indifference. He remains loyal to Vril Dox after L.E.G.I.O.N. leadership is usurped by Dox's son, until an altercation between Lobo and Dox prompts Dox to release Lobo from his service. After this, Lobo becomes a full-time bounty hunter again.
In the year 2000, a magical accident transforms Lobo into a teenager. In this state, he joins Young Justice and eventually accompanies them to Apokolips, where he is killed in combat. However, the aforementioned magical accident has restored his ability to grow clones from a single drop of blood, and millions of Lobos rush into battle against Apokoliptian soldiers, whom the Lobos quickly defeat. The Lobos then turn on each other, until only one is left; in the process, the surviving Lobo regrows to adulthood. His time as a member of Young Justice becomes a distant memory. An additional weaker teenage Lobo with yellow eyes remained, however, having hidden from the fight; he rejoins Young Justice and chooses to rename himself Slo-bo. Eventually, this clone begins to degrade, becoming blind, and degenerating to the brink of death. Before he can die, however, Darkseid teleports him to the headquarters of Young Justice One Million in the 853rd Century, turning him into a statue (but fully conscious and aware) in the process. When Lobo later encounters Robin and Wonder Girl again as members of the Teen Titans, he demonstrates no recollections of them or their history together, demonstrating that he has indeed forgotten his time as their teammate.
Main article: 52 (comics)After an extended hiatus, Lobo reappeared during the year-long maxi-series known as 52 where he encounters a group of heroes (consisting of Adam Strange, Animal Man, and Starfire), who find themselves stranded in space after the events of Infinite Crisis. To everyone's surprise he does not kill them. Lobo professes to have found religion, becoming the spiritual leader of the whole of sector 3500, left in shambles by a still unknown assailant. He is the current caretaker of the Emerald Eye of Ekron. After helping the lost heroes to defeat Lady Styx, he brings the Emerald Eye to the triple-headed fish god, who agrees to release Lobo from his vow of non-violence in exchange. When told that the Emerald Eye is the only thing that can kill the fish god, Lobo blasts him with it.
One Year Later
Lobo appeared in "Deadly Serious", a two-part crossover miniseries with Batman in August 2007, written and drawn by Sam Kieth. In addition, Lobo has fought the Teen Titans and Blue Beetle in their respective titles in order to stop a rocket for the Reach, which he failed.
In the Reign in Hell miniseries, it is revealed that at some point in time Lobo's soul was sent to Hell (possibly after the death of his original body on Apokolips). Lobo's suffering was enough to power Neron's whole castle. Lobo was freed from his prison in a battle between Etrigan and Blue Devil, and went on a rampage through hell to seek revenge on Neron. In order to buy time to fully recover before battling Lobo, Etrigan stole Blue Devil's soul and informed him that he would have to fight Lobo to get it back. During Lobo's rampage he cut off Zatara's head, forcing his daughter, Zatanna to send him to the Abyss (soul death).
Later, Lobo is shown aiding the JLA during their mission into Hell, where he helps Fire defeat the god Plutus.
In Brightest Day crossover, Lobo appeared on Earth to capture a bounty on Atrocitus's head. After fighting Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Sinestro, he then fled, which Hal found unusual. However, it is revealed that the fight was all staged by Atrocitus himself. As a payment, Lobo was given a Red Lantern ring.
Still wearing his red ring, Lobo is recruited from a bar by Vril Dox, who requires his help battling his "father" Brainiac and captured weapon Pulsar Stargrave. Even losing his spacehog, Lobo saves the planet Colu, but with Brainac and Pulsar Stargrave escaping.
Powers and abilities
Lobo possesses extraordinary strength of undefined limits. His strength, much like his other powers, varies greatly depending upon different artistic interpretations of various comic book writers. In some instances, he is depicted as being barely stronger than a human while, in others, he demonstrates physical strength on a similar level to Superman. Lobo also possesses superhuman durability, which varies greatly as well. Lobo is depicted, in some situations, as being injured by conventional bullets while, in other situations, he has the physical resiliency to stand toe to toe with Superman, survive unprotected in deep space, and withstand powerful explosive blasts without sustaining injury. He has displayed particular susceptibility to gaseous chemicals.
If Lobo sustains injury, his accelerated healing factor enables him to regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue with superhuman speed and efficiency, and little apparent pain. Lobo also is functionally immortal. He is immune to the effects of aging and disease and he has been banned from entering either Heaven or Hell. As such, even though he can sustain sufficient injury to be out of commission for quite some time, he will apparently heal from any injury, given sufficient time. For instance, Lobo can regenerate out of a pool of his own blood, apparently recycling the cells. At one time, Lobo could grow a copy of himself, possessing all of his skills and powers, out of every drop of his blood that was spilled. This power was removed by Vril Dox, during Lobo's time with L.E.G.I.O.N., but Lobo has apparently regained it, as seen during the series Young Justice, in which Lobo who was de-aged by Klarion the Witch Boy, is slaughtered while on a mission to Apokolips. His blood reforms into thousands of Lobo clones who wage war on the planet and then proceed to murder each other until only one Lobo (the current one) is left. One of his other clones Slo-Bo survived, but later began to fall apart until being dealt with by Darkseid. Whether Lobo still retains this power now is unknown.
Lobo possesses an amazingly developed sense of smell, which allows him to track objects between solar systems, as well as a separate tracking ability enabling him to track an individual across galactic distances.
Lobo is a formidable combatant with expertise in multiple forms of armed and unarmed combat. His favorite weapon is a large titanium alloy chain he keeps wrapped around his right wrist with a large gutting hook connected at the end, which he typically uses in hand to hand combat. At times, he also uses high-grade explosives and advanced firearms.
Despite his violent and loutish nature, Lobo seems to have a genius-level intellect in matters of destruction and violence. He can create complex virulent agents and the necessary antidotes to them such as the one he let loose on Czarnia during his formative years on a science project, resulting in the deaths of the entire population in the span of one week. His vehicle often accompanying him, some sort of space-faring motorcycle (the "Space Hog"), is of his own design and it is capable of extended and speedy travel throughout space despite its size. Further, it protects those in its immediate vicinity from the hazards of space and somehow permit the ability to breathe and speak. He was also able to scavenge parts from a destroyed time hopper and attach them to his own bike, producing a working time machine. Another feat is that Lobo is fluent in many several alien languages (according to Lobo, 17,897 to be exact) and extremely knowledgeable in the locations and cultures of worlds without use of some external mechanism.
It is not fully known the extent to which his powers are common for his race or unique to him. In the miniseries The Last Czarnian and elsewhere, it is stated that the cloning and healing abilities are traits possessed by all Czarnians, as is the apparent ability to survive in the vacuum of space. Lobo is in possession of a Red Lantern power ring given him by Atrocitus similar to that of a Green Lantern, save that it is powered by rage rather than willpower. The full extent of a red power ring's powers has not been revealed, but it is stated in Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns that the red ring acts as their heart and pumps their rage-tainted blood out of their body through their mouth. While initially unable to do so, Atrocitus learned to create red light constructs after observing the other lanterns during the Blackest Night. It is also shown that the ring's red energy corrupts the auras of other power rings and burns them away, possibly corrupting the ring beyond the ability for a Lantern to use. However, the Red Lantern's corruptive energy can be overcome and purified by the Blue Lantern's energies. With the exception of the Red Lantern leader Atrocitus, Red Lantern power rings reduce their wielders to mindless raging beasts, leaving them unable to create and maintain energy constructs as Green and Blue Lanterns do. It is as yet unclear if this will be the case for Lobo and if he will be able to create these energy constructs in the same manner as Atrocitus, or if he will even use the ring at all.