Welcome to the mini that proves the old saying "I guess you had to be there."
So. . .Lobo. Incredibly popular in the 90's, a strange reboot in the New 52, and now a return in DC's Rebirth. It's been a long, strange ride, but we're heading back to the mini that really put Lobo on the shelves. Does it still hold up 27 years down the road?
Yes and no.
This story takes place when Lobo was an unwilling agent of L.E.G.I.O.N. and is entirely dependent on that continuity, which hurts the story a bit, unlike a lot of the later Lobo tales that ignore the L.E.G.I.O.N. connection. That said, despite this being an in-continuity story instead of a standalone, it's not bad.
The writer does a good job of letting us know what the status quo is and who the characters are, so a trip to the internet for a 90's DC continuity refresher isn't needed. The story is humorous, but not in a "laugh out loud" way. Almost 30 years down the road, it's hard to remember a time when these comedy beats were fresh.
As far as the art goes, I'm in the "Bisley can do no wrong." camp. He's a legend and for good reason. Unfortunately, he's not the only artist on this series, and you can easily spot where Giffen had a hand in things. Bisley is clearly the superior here, but there's a bigger problem with the art in this book. . .the paper and the coloring don't do Bisley's art any favors. The cheap paper combined with sloppy oversaturated colors make some of the panels a mess.
All in all, except for the sloppy colors and the tired humor, I liked this first issue a lot. It had some great moments and did a good job introducing the players.
After a great (with a few stumbles) first issue, the story settles into a slower groove as more players are introduced into the mix for what is sure to be an epic confrontation between Lobo and several competing groups of enemies at the end of it all.
Unfortunately, the same things that I found wrong with the first issue are also to be found here. The book is funny and violent, but reading it almost 30 years after it came out, it's hard to believe that at one time, this was considered outrageous or controversial. Not that it's BAD, it just doesn't age as well as it should.
I can tell that there's a lot more Bisley than Giffen in this issue, and that's definitely a good thing. Unfortunately, the cheap paper and sloppy coloring still conspire to muddy things up. I think the coloring might even be worse on this issue than the first. Some panels are almost impossible to make out, while others are splashed with bright pinks, greens, and blues. Not quite the coloring I'd think of for a character like Lobo.
All in all, not a bad issue. The art remains a strange love/hate thing with me, though.
I thought this issue was the best of the bunch so far. It seems almost like the problems I noticed were also noticed at the time by the creators and steps were taken to correct them.
The humor was more on the mark this time out, with Vril Dox losing his mind as his carefully-orchestrated plan meets the chaos that is Lobo. The best part of the book was Lobo captured and forced to take part in a spelling bee. It reminded me of the off the hook humor of future Lobo stories to come.
The art also took a turn for the better. The inking and coloring are a lot less sloppy and heavy-handed, letting the fine lines of Bisley's art really show through for the first time.
All in all a great issue.
This issue is pretty much all-out chaos as all the different groups after Lobo come together in one place. I didn't really like it as much as last issue. It just seemed to me to be trying too hard to be outrageous, and (like I said before) it just doesn't age well. That said, I loved the ending, where Lobo reminded Vox in his own way that he sticks exactly to the letter of his contract, so most of the issue fell kind of flat, but they stuck the ending. The art also hit the mark, with none of the sloppy inks and colors of the first two issues, letting Bisley's lines show through nicely.
All in all, this was a decent issue with a great ending. Overall, I enjoyed this mini. Unfortunately, I would have enjoyed it more if the art hadn't been sloppy in the first couple of issues. The heavy L.E.G.I.O.N. connection hurt the story a bit. . .it probably would have been better as a standalone (as most later Lobo minis would be). The humor and violence also seemed a bit forced in many places. Reading it almost 30 years later makes it pretty obvious they were REALLY trying to be outrageous, but now it just comes off as being mildly humorous.
And there you have it, DC's Lobo 4 issue mini.
All things considered, I enjoyed this series and would suggest it for anyone interested in Lobo. If you have no interest in Lobo then nothing here will help change your mind. The humor was hit and miss, it relies on 90's continuity instead of being a standalone story, and the art in the first two issues was questionable. . .but all that aside, this was a nice visit back to what they thought was outrageous in the 90's.
As I think back on it now, a question comes to mind. . .given the violent and profane nature of Lobo, why wasn't he part of Vertigo? It seems like he would have been a good fit in an uncensored environment.
Coming next. . .
Dynamite can rebuild him. They have the technology. They can make him better than he was. Or can they? Dynamite's Six Million Dollar Man: The Fall Of Man. be there or be square!
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Issue # 49