16 March 2008

LOBO: The Last Czarnian (DC, 1991)

Lobo: The Last Czarnian collects the first solo adventures of everyone's favourite intergalactic bounty hunter this side of Boba Fett. Since DC just released an all brand new Lobo collection (Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich (2008)) that includes the very same story, I thought I'd do my usual half assed review of it here.

Last Czarnian collects the Lobo mini-series that first came out in 1990 and it sees the psycho space biker and all round party guy going on a mission to escort a prisoner safely into the hands of Vril Dox, leader of L.E.G.I.O.N '90. Little does Lobo know that the prisoner is none other than his fourth grade teacher. So Lobo isn't the last Czarnian left in the universe after all. The rest of the 90-odd pages sees Lobo making pit stops here and there on the way to L.EG.I.O.N. HQ with his 'prisoner', annoys the locals, gets into a fight, kills a few people and moves on. After a while it gets kinda boring.

The main problem with a character like Lobo is that we know he is basically immortal so there's no danger of him getting killed ever. Even if he is killed, he comes back two panels later anyway. There's no suspense which is why all Lobo comics are presented as 'fun' comics and not to be taken seriously. On the plus side however, it helps that Simon Bisley (art), Keith Giffen and Alan Grant (plot and dialogue) are on the same wavelength and it is obvious they had fun drawing and writing the book. Bisley especially deserves extra credit for his rendition of Lobo which has been accepted as the standard look for the character.

Anyone who is unfamiliar with Lobo need not worry since the writers use a convenient plot device to keep the reader up to date with Lobo's origin. It is revealed that his fourth grade teacher wrote an unathourised biography of her least favourite pupil and excerpts from the book are used at the end of every chapter. Informative and it enhances the plot. Now, that's good writing.

Lobo: The Last Czarnian was hot way back when because it was Lobo's first solo adventure before the doom of overexposure visited him like all other popular comic book characters. Reading it again today, I found it to be just okay if albeit repetitive. New fans of Lobo or veteran fans who may have missed this book the first time around should give Last Czarnian (reissued as Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich trade) a try. Lobo's always fun to read. Just don't expect anything special.

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