Krypton season 2 introduces…I was going to say “most unexpected,” but Adam Strange is already here so I guess Lobo is more like one of the most unexpected characters on the show. Lobo! The Main Man! The Last Czarnian! An unkillable force of the universe with no morals and a hunger for big bounties! But there’s a big question with his inclusion in an otherwise serious show:
Are they really doing this?
Lobo is a bit of a gag character. He’s an unstoppable intergalactic bounty hunter, originally introduced by Roger Silfer, Keith Giffen, and Mike DeCarlo in the pages of Omega Men #3 back in 1983. His original background was massively different from what it would eventually become, but the hyper-competent, amoral bounty hunter element was there from the start. He’s paired with another bounty hunter named Bedlam as the two try and break into the Omega Men’s ship so they can bust down the shield of the planet Euphorix on behalf of the Citadel.
Original Lobo is basically Gene Simmons, only if Simmons’ ego was backed up by actual competence. He’s an exremely effective murderer with crappy mime face paint who’s an absolute pig to women. There isn’t really much more to recommend him at this point: his costume is bland and very early ‘80s. His partner is an empty suit (and dead by the next issue). And he doesn’t come back, besides a couple of mentions here and there. But when he returns, we see the natural progression from bit character to beloved supporting character to universal big deal.
That was it for Lobo for a few years, until Giffen brought him back in the pages of the beloved Justice League International with J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire. There, like most other characters in that comic, Lobo would get into a fistfight with Guy Gardner. He was hired by the Great Manga Khan to destroy his foes, the Justice League, as they flew around space, but after Barda realizes who he is (and that she can’t beat him), she teleports him to Earth where his contract gets dropped by Khan.
It was in the pages of JLI where we started to see the development of the Main Man we all know and love today – the interstellar meaning of his name (it’s Khundish for “He Who Devours Your Entrails and Thoroughly Enjoys It”); his lifelong passion for space dolphin husbandry; his very unique power set and willingness to always take a higher contract. This was where we started seeing what he would become: a parody of the ultraviolent, grim, gritty ‘90s badass.
From there, he grew into a DC Universe mainstay. He would go on to become a regular in L.E.G.I.O.N., the big space book at the time, because of how entertaining his appearance in JLI was. Led by Vril Dox (a clone of Brainiac), the LEGION is a group of present day space cops and NOT the awesome group of future teens. Dox manipulates Lobo into working for him by offering to protect his space dolphins, eventually cutting a deal with the Main Man for a prisoner transport. Lobo is asked to safeguard a prisoner transfer of the SECOND to last Czarnian: his fourth grade teacher. He completed the task that built his legend at the end of the series, when after transferring her to Dox’s custody and fulfilling the terms of his contract, he snapped her neck for annoying him.
That prisoner transfer happens in his first solo miniseries, Lobo: The Last Czarnian. Giffen and Alan Grant wrote the comic, while Simon Bisley drew it, and it was an instant classic. It was sharp and witty commentary on the endless Punishers and Wolverines of the comics world of the era, with art from Bisley that looked more 2000 A.D. than typical American comics. It was purple, packed with over the top violence, and utterly beloved, spawning sequels (including The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special, where Lobo is hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa Claus) and Lobo’s own solo series, which ran through the end of the decade.
He was resigned to guest appearances and age shifts from there, eventually being de-aged so he could appear in Young Justice and re-aged for 52 (another classic – he takes a vow of nonviolence to lead an interstellar church of space-fish, only to renounce his faith when he falls into possession of the Emerald Eye of Ekron). And then in the New 52 it all went to hell.
This is what he looked like when the DC universe got rebooted.
Look at what they did to my beautiful boy…
He died several issues later.
Post-Rebirth, Lobo joined Steve Orlando’s Justice League of America where he fell into his regular patterns of “…drinking, violence, and oceanography.”
POWERS AND ABILITIES
Befitting his status as a half-parody character, Lobo’s physical power set is fairly ridiculous. The only upper bound seems to be “he can’t beat Superman in a straight fight.”
– He has nearly limitless strength.
– He can breathe in space.
– He’s nearly impossible to kill, and if you even make it past his superhuman durability, he can regenerate extremely quickly.
– At one point, he could regrow an entirely new Lobo from every spilled drop of blood, making him like some kind of Madrox/Kiss Army hybrid.
– He’s really good at killing. He’s kind of a moron when it comes to normal, everyday interactions, but if you offer him a contract that says you want him to wipe out an entire planet with a no-fingerprints killer virus, he will be able to create that virus from nothing for you.
– Lobo’s SpaceHog (his intergalactic motorcycle) is more like a partner than a ride. The two of them fight together and apart, with SpaceHog responding to commands from Lobo.
– He’s got the language range of Johnny Dangerously, the fargin icehole.
OUTSIDE OF COMICS
Lobo has made several appearances in other mediums. His most prominent is probably in the Timm/Dini animated universe, where he fought Superman several times on Superman: The Animated Series and then attempted to replace him when the world thought he was dead in Justice League. He was voiced by Brad Garrett, in what may be the greatest superhero casting of all time until Cate Blanchett played Hela in Thor: Ragnarok.
Lobo has also featured prominently in Young Justice, the stupendously good cartoon that gained a second life on the DC Universe streaming service, and in an episode of Justice League Action with Space Cabbie, a delightful sentence to type. And he was the first DLC character in Injustice: Gods Among Us, where, according to his arcade tower ending, he grows bored hunting superheroes for Superman’s fascist pals and decides to put out a hit on the New Gods (and take the contract for that hit himself).
His appearance on Krypton will be his first true live action appearance, though he was mentioned in an episode of Supergirl and his name was used as the luchalibre pseudonym for Kaupe, the Hawaiian wolf spirit, on Legends of Tomorrow.
And if all that isn’t enough, it has just been announced that Emmett J. Scanlan will take his live action Lobo from Krypton to his own Lobo TV series! We have more details on that right here.
Krypton airs Wednesday nights at 10 pm on Syfy.