Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 1

April 16th, 2013 by | Tags: ,

Today is the big release of Injustice: Gods Among Us. I picked it up, along with the Season Pass of downloadable content. With that, I get some of the Flashpoint costumes, which includes Pirate Deathstroke. Less important parts of that include four extra characters, who will be released over the next couple months. There’s plenty of speculation of who some of them will be, such as Martian Manhunter or Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion.

Last night, it was revealed that the first DLC character will be none other than the Last Czarian himself, Lobo. Even though I have three more names to wait for, I might as well keep the trend going by explaining Lobo to people who don’t read comics.


Alias: None, though he’s given himself a laundry list of nicknames
First Appearance: Omega Men #3 (1983)
Powers: Super strength, excessive healing factor, immortality, can talk in space, can clone himself by spilling his own blood
Other Media: Showed up on the Superman cartoon and Justice League spinoff, appeared on Young Justice, sort of appeared in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, had a 16-bit fighting game that was never released and a film student created a rather well-done live-action recreation of a Lobo comic featuring real actors.

With a couple storyline exceptions, Lobo is a terrible character. He’s a terrible, overly-shitty character. And that was the intent.

Lobo was created as a villain in the series Omega Men, where he had purple hair and wore purple and orange full-body tights. Veteran comic writer Keith Giffen created the character as a way to take the piss out of the likes of Wolverine and other tough guy murderer comic characters. He never expected Lobo to catch on so much and become exactly what Giffen was trying to make fun of. Despite being the character’s creator, Giffen kind of hates Lobo, but he doesn’t hate the money that he’s made for him.

In the early years, Lobo mainly appeared in space-related comics like Omega Men, L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. He appeared in one story for Giffen’s well-regarded Justice League International (which I highly recommend), where he was very briefly deputized as a member of the Justice League before anyone realized that he was actually a bounty hunter secretly out to get them. By this point, he was redesigned to the more recognizable space biker appearance.

Lobo got a miniseries in the early 90’s, written by Giffen and Alan Grant. In it, they changed up his origin and made it that Lobo was from the planet Czarnia, which was a mostly peaceful planet. Lobo was born as pure evil and became the bane of his civilization. In his teenage years, he created a plague that would kill off the entire race except for him. Then he rode off on his flying motorcycle to find a life outside of the self-created wasteland, where he decided to make a name as the biggest and baddest bounty hunter in the cosmos.

Lobo got a bunch of comics throughout the 90’s that were over-the-top violent comedies. They weren’t all that good, mainly because the main joke was, “Haha, Lobo totally punched that random guy’s head off and turned it into a graphic explosion of blood!” They worked in the same way that modern Punisher comics work. Lobo was a terrible guy, so he’d have to fight threats that made him the lesser evil. Threats that we’d love to see get mutilated. Only it didn’t work as well for Lobo because Giffen and Grant depicted him as being one of the evilest being in the universe who only got by because he had a cool design and was a protagonist. Instead of finding eviler antagonists, he’d usually have to fight increasingly annoying antagonists and that isn’t as fun as it sounds.

Despite being an unrepentant mass murderer, Lobo does have some redeemable qualities. He holds himself to a strict code of honor, meaning that if he promises something, he will keep his word no matter what. He also loves space dolphins with all of his heart and will do anything to protect them and avenge their deaths. He doesn’t like many others, though he has a thing for a space diner waitress Darlene. He gets along with some of his fellow bounty hunters, namely Jonas Glim, and shares a mutual respect for Green Lantern Guy Gardner. He also had a dog for a while, but proceeded to angrily stomp it to death because that’s apparently funny, I guess.

Lobo’s powers are very ill-defined. He’d come back from just about any kind of wound, but there was also a power where he’d reproduce clones via spilled blood. They eventually wrote Vril Dox (son of Brainiac) as scientifically removing that blood clone power. Lobo’s strength was also put into question. He was depicted as pretty strong – certainly far more than a human being – but at times he’d be able to duke it out with Superman with no problem. This led to fan speculation that Lobo’s powers expand to let him be on equal level with whatever he’s up against.

So how popular was Lobo in the 90’s? Popular enough to be a big player in the big Marvel vs. DC event. The miniseries (which is itself a hilarious time capsule of the mid-to-late-90’s in comics) created a contrieved situation where Marvel characters and DC characters had to fight it out for the survival of their worlds. Five of the fights were handled by having the fans vote via America Online polls. They included Superman over Hulk, Batman over Captain America, Spider-Man over Superboy, Storm over Wonder Woman (the only one that wasn’t an obvious win) and Wolverine over Lobo. In a three-page fight, the two tore each other to ribbons in an intergalactic bar until going at each other with the bar obscuring the action. After things quieted down, Wolverine stood up, sat on a stool and smoked a cigar in victory.

A lot of fans were NOT happy with that, but that was nothing compared to what Garth Ennis did to him. Ennis was writing DC’s fantastic series Hitman, telling the story of a hired killer with x-ray vision and mind-reading powers. Ennis’ hatred for superheroes has always been well-documented, but he apparently hates Lobo that much more because he did a one-shot called Hitman/Lobo: That Stupid Bastich that completely shit on the Main Man. With the help of F-list superhero team Section 8, Hitman got the better of Lobo and protected himself from Lobo’s vengeance by recording video of what’s insinuated as Bueno Excellente (a “superhero” who fights crime using his powers of perversion) marrying and raping an unconscious Lobo. If something happened to Hitman, the video would be sent to the Justice League. So, um… yeah. There’s your two wrongs.

Lobo’s popularity had died down plenty by the end of the 90’s and into the early 00’s, DC had a great teen hero series called Young Justice. It was basically Teen Titans, but they just called it Young Justice. A storyline had all the heroes in the world switch ages. The adult heroes became kids while the kid heroes became adults. It was all set back to normal by the end, but since “Li’l Lobo” was off in space during the fix, he never became his adult self. Li’l Lobo got over the transformation by believing that after years of being on top in the bounty hunter game, it would be nice to have to claw his way back from the bottom.

He forced himself into teaming up with Young Justice a few times and their adventures led to them ending up on Darkseid’s planet Apokalips. There, Li’l Lobo was torn to pieces by enemy forces, but being a younger version of himself, his clone blood power was in effect. An army of teenage Lobos rallied against an army of Parademons and upon winning, they turned on each other until only one was left alive. That lone Lobo grew back into adulthood and rode off from the planet with no memories of his time with Young Justice.

Meanwhile, the team was soon joined by a new member. The runt of the Lobo clones, realizing he didn’t stand a chance to survive in that big battle royal, hid himself until the coast was clear. The yellow-eyed, skinny teenager Slobo became part of Young Justice for the final stretch of the series. He later explained that he wasn’t fighting alongside them out of any delusions of justice or heroism, but because he genuinely liked the guys and was loyal to his friends. In the last couple issues, he revealed that since he was never really meant to survive in the first place, his body was degenerating. He was already blind, but he had a short time left to live. In the final issue, when the team was confronted by Darkseid, Slobo decided to go out on his terms by rushing the villain and getting vaporized by his eye lasers.

Lobo went years without a single comic appearance until showing up in 52, where he became comrades with Animal Man, Starfire and Adam Strange in their attempt to find their way back to Earth. Lobo acted as a guide, paid for by Starfire’s promise of money, but could not fight for them. He became part of a dolphin-based religion that forbade him from using violence. This gave us images of Lobo dressed as the Pope, so that ruled. Probably the best little touch of the whole subplot was when Animal Man had a dramatic death scene. Starfire and Adam Strange were both completely emotional, but Lobo could be seen in the background, smoking a cigar and not giving the slightest shit. At the end of the comic, Lobo’s god released him from his vows of pacifism, which turned out to be a major mistake as Lobo killed that god in return.

Keith Giffen wrote a miniseries called Reign in Hell about a war between demonic forces in an attempt to dominate Hell. It was shown that Lobo had been dead for quite some time and I guess the one we’ve been reading about for the past however many years was a fake of some sort. Either way, the story was an excuse for Giffen to finally write off the character by having his soul destroyed by Zatanna. That didn’t stop writers from using him.

Lobo was hired by Atrocitus, leader of the Red Lanterns, to stage a fight with him on Earth in order to gain the trust of Hal Jordan. Lobo was paid with a Red Lantern ring. I guess he used that in the series R.E.B.E.L.S., but I wouldn’t know since I haven’t read a single page of it.

Since Flashpoint, Lobo was been brought back in Rob Liefeld’s Deathstroke run. The idea that Deathstroke would prove to everyone what a badass mercenary he is by defeating Lobo is a strong one, but that wasn’t where Liefeld was going. Instead, Lobo was a galactic slaver and Deathstroke was hired to stop him. Fans were annoyed by Lobo’s rebooting, but whether Liefeld intended it or not, it’s kind of funny. They can get behind a genocidal maniac, but a slaver?! How could you recreate him as a monster?!

Lobo was meant to get his own spinoff cartoon that would be part of the Batman/Superman/Justice League universe, but it got pulled at the eleventh hour. Many of the episodes were turned into flash cartoons (the animation style, not the speedster) and you can still find them on YouTube and such.

While the idea of a Lobo movie never got off the ground, I always thought that the Hulk Hogan flick Suburban Commando is more entertaining if you imagine it as a Lobo movie after Hollywood REALLY got its claws into it.

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4 comments to “Guide to the Injustice Roster: DLC Appendix 1”

  1. Also: Lil Lobo dated Empress. And Impulse had to hypnotize him to calm him down for it. Hilarity ensued. Also, his ultimate fate was getting turned to stone in the Batcave. In the 853rd Century. BTW, if I’m wrong on any of this, I blame my rapidly closing eyes.

  2. @Jason: No, you’re not wrong. I just left that statue part out because I didn’t think it was worth explaining.

  3. Brad Garrett did a great job as Lobo in his appearances in the Superman and Justice League cartoons.

  4. Lobo is also showing up in Jim Starlin’s Stormwatch