Lobo has never done much for me as a character, being basically a one-note super-tough guy who's more than a little bit of a parody of the archetype most readily embodied by Wolverine, and I've always felt that a little of him goes a very long way, wearing out his welcome and becoming tiresome after a few pages. There have been exceptions to the rule, specifically the Lobo/Hitman crossover, "Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas Special" "Un-American Gladiators" and "Lobo's Guide to Chicks," but mostly any story featuring him can be summed up as a blending of a few now-rote elements:
- references to heavy metal music
- silly pseudo-profanity
- much macho bluster
- over-the-top and utterly ridiculous fight scenes, often featuring gore that would have been wholly unacceptable if not employed within a comedic context
- Lobo's bitchin' space-bike
- Lobo's warm and squishy love of dolphins, be they of the terrestrial or extra-terrestrial varieties
For whatever reason, DC Comics approached well-known heavy metal guitarist Scott Ian — of Stormtroopers of Death (whose first album is the seminal thrash metal album and one of my all-time favorites) and Anthrax— to write a two-issue Lobo story and the results display his utter lack of qualifications for the gig (I feel bad about stating that, because I met Scott years ago at Marvel and he's a really nice guy). Coupled with this amateurishness is the artwork of Sam Keith, a onetime "hot" artist who, if you ask me, has done little or nothing of note since his work on EPICURUS THE SAGE (1989-1991). This time around, Keith's work is incredibly slapdash and inconsistent, varying from page after page of full-page illustrations in lieu of panels to conventionally-paneled pages that frequently look unfinished or rushed, like he knocked the whole project out over a long weekend.
The "story," such as it is involves Lobo going to Hell to kick the Devil's ass for supposedly killing a space-dolphin. That's basically all there is to it, only that flimsy setup is stretched out over 144 virtually humor-free pages. God knows the creators tried to craft a humor piece, but what resulted simply is not amusing at all and is painfully forced.
The overall aesthetic feel of the piece is reminiscent of late-1960's/early-1970's underground comics, and by that I mean the lesser examples of that genre. In fact, it specifically reminds me of a story from YELLOW DOG COMICS #24 (1973) called "Mickey Rat-On Visits the Disneelund," an occasionally funny re-imagining of Mickey, Donald and Goofy as horny, drugged-out hippies who go to Disneyland and wreak havoc. That story was very obviously the unedited creation of someone completely out of his mind on any number of questionable pharmaceuticals. I found that story's cursing, sleazy sex and general anarchy to be hilarious when I first read it at age fourteen, but looking at it now I'm amazed by its incoherent and seemingly endless rambling narrative. I have not read that story since at least 1983, yet I was strongly reminded of it while I read this Lobo book and found the Lobo story to be of far less entertainment value.
Bottom line: this is a complete and utter waste of trees that I'm amazed was let out of the DC offices without some serious retooling, and I can't believe they have the nerve to ask $19.99 for this.