Things get even…bloodier in Lobo #5 written by Cullen Bunn and with artwork by Reilly Brown, Alison Borges, Cliff Richards, Nelson De Castro, colors by Peter Pantazis, and Travis Lanham on lettering.
While the art team for this book just keeps growing and growing just to put out a complete issue, Lobo, despite the frequent art shifts is surprisingly enjoyable. While skeptical of the “new” Lobo from first sketch this new version is becoming rather likable in his own way. This issue continues Lobo on his hit list and puts his current “team” on a break from being on page with him taking some solo hits, the first being faux-evil sorceress Zarielle Thane whose supervillainy is quickly dismantled and is taken out (off page). Emily over intercom says the choice to kill her was a bit cold but Lobo justifies it considering she was a killer. They next investigate a figure called The Businessman.
Who turns out to be a “she”, The Pariah, an Xrexian, from the sister planet to Lobo’s Czarina which was destroyed when Czarina was destroyed. It was inhabited by people from Czarina, so technically they are of the same species as Lobo, both being the last respective genders of their kind (as if we’ve had enough of gendering aliens). They battle and while she’s a bit fliratious Lobo does not particularly play along, but she then guys him and escapes. She reveals the possibility that Czarina’s destruction was perhaps not his fault at all, but hers, and thus starts a cat and mouse game with Lobo.
Lobo himself is actually pretty likable and I’ve decided on it for sure this issue. He has a code and is quite ruthless but he’s being painted as terribly sympathetic especially with the tragic backstory which is a bit cringey but I guess works with this new neo-romantic version of the character. I still like the artwork of Alison Borges when they do flashbacks, but this issue her work wasn’t quite as strong as it usually is, accept the final which looks amazing.
While Bunn still hasn’t quite fully tapped into the over the top camp that this book should really embrace (more Fifth Element but with more gore please) artist Reilly Brown seems to understand and while their work isn’t always that great, they do have a retro vaguely 90s feel and often draw great comedic faces and frequently showcases Lobo’s butt which may or may not excite some people. This new Lobo is “handsome” and lean they sure as hell should give him the Dick Grayson treatment.
The Pariah/ Business Man character is sort of cliche but it’s sort of forgivable since it does fit this sort of soap opera-y narrative that they have going on punctuated with moments of dark comedy. As mentioned, that dark comedy needs to be ramped up. The focus on the tragic history and guilt that Lobo has is interesting but at the same time a little too serious for the character’s legacy. Yes he killed the “original” Lobo. But he’s still Lobo, and they can still do this version, just ramp up the outrageous elements just a tad more to balance it out even more. Lobo, like Deadpool, should always be pretty Looney Tunes no matter how serious their plot is. Even more blatant objectification of Lobo himself would be a great way to do that if playing into his new look. Which is funny because it appears like he does not personality wise fit the romantic suave womanizer people thought he was going to turn to be. In fact he seems rather disinterested all around. Now that would be funny.
This is an interesting book because its not flawless but it has exceeded expectations for sure since they announced it and the revamped character. I’ve been impressed even though not everything is perfect and want to keep being impressed. Let’s hope it keeps impressing!