Sunday, January 29, 2012

Birthday Comics Review: LOBO # 25 (March, 1996)

We’re nearly a week behind my actual birthday, and here’s the post I’d hoped to have had up then. But, we sadly lost Dick Tufeld, and that was the end of that! This post was originally prepared for my APA and Fanzine Column “The Issue At Hand” – after which this Blog is named.

The Issue at Hand Is: LOBO # 25 (March, 1996)

Published by DC Comics.

Released January 17, 1996 (…One week before my own birthday!)

Lobo’s Big Birfday Bash” 22 pg. Written by Alan Grant.

Art by Ellis and Propst.

SUMMARY: Lobo’s friends (…at least those who’ll own up to it) throw him a surprise birthday party. What WERE they thinking?! And exactly WHO is this LOBO, anyway?

LOBO was the leader of my three favorite comic book titles that began in the nineties, the others being IMPULSE and SAVAGE DRAGON. I actually preferred the “regular series” written by Alan Grant (late of JUDGE DREDD) to the various LOBO miniseries that proliferated at the time. Grant’s run provided us with the regular cast of fellow bounty hunter Jonas Glim, attractive waitress Darlene and Galactic Diner Mogul Al – who was clearly based on actor Al Molinaro’s character on the TV series HAPPY DAYS.

Though Lobo has achieved some degree of notoriety by virtue being one of the highest profile comic-book characters of the nineties, not to mention his appearances on the WB Superman and Justice League Animated Series, it may still be necessary to describe the character to an uninitiated audience (…Though I’d expect MY readers to have at least a passing familiarity with one of my most favorite DC Comics characters!) The task won’t be easy, but here goes…

Lobo is the most feared bounty hunter in all of Space. Armed with a massive hook and chain, and riding a souped-up “space bike”, he is the scourge of wanted men (or beasts) throughout the cosmos.

With a cursory resemblance to the members of the rock band KISS and the fashion sense of the WWE, he possesses the requisite measure of strength and invulnerability, is ruthless in the pursuit of his quarry or his goals, yet lives by an unusually strong, but quirky, “code of honor”.

That said, he may be comics’ most unlikely “everyman”. Yes, really!

Like many of us, he rails against unethical business practices, the ineffectual performance of the Postal Service, the excesses of the entertainment industry – and (in a truly memorable sequence that I wish I could reproduce here) those who exceed the posted transaction limit in a long ATM line!

Being all-powerful and answerable to no one, he can act on such matters in ways we can only dream of – resulting in some great, albeit often violent, fun for his readers.

So, what do you give “The Baddest Bastich in the Galaxy”? Other than a wide berth and a great deal of latitude, that is!

Among the presents from Lobo’s throng of well-wishers are a flamethrower (Natch!), a bomb detector (…which he spurns, because it takes the fun out of getting blown up), a trio of gift wrapped wanted criminals – each with a price on his head (… a rather thoughtful gift for a bounty hunter, when you think of it!), and a busty stripper – who, after a healthy dose of indignation and a few stiff drinks, forces the men to disrobe at gunpoint!

The inevitable mayhem resulting from such a mix of “high-spirited” individuals, free-flowing liquor, and instruments of mass-destruction as plentiful as hors d’oeurves ends in the fiery obliteration of the party-site; a brand new branch of the chain of cosmic eateries known as “Al’s Diner”.

Gleeful over the carnage, Lobo’s spirits quickly reverse when he learns that his final gift of the evening – from restaurant mogul AL – is the deed to that very diner!

This, of course, could be considered a gift of sorts from writer Alan Grant to regular Lobo readers who have repeatedly witnessed the running gag of Lobo’s finding new ways to casually destroy various incarnations of “Al’s Diner” over the previous two years worth of issues! It’s always fun to see a running gag turned back upon itself!

All that vicarious fun AND a gift from the writer to boot. Honestly, was your last birthday this much fun? I didn’t think so!

1 comment:

ramapith said...

Happy belated birthday, Joe! Unfortunately, I've got a busty stripper here who's demanding your address at gunpoint—and who will then send Lobo right your way, with several six-packs and an assortment of highly destructive weapons. I know you'll be glad to see him for the first thirty seconds, but after that...