Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lobo Annual #1 Review

Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art by: Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego and Blond
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 29, 2015

Little Orphan Lobo

I have not been a huge fan of Cullen Bunn's Lobo run, mainly because I expected so much from it.  I am not talking about the character at all...this new fangled Lobo is just fine with me, I'm talking about Cullen Bunn.  I have the utmost respect for Bunn as a writer and when Lobo came out, it was finally my chance to review one of his books.  Unfortunately, the run up until now has been mediocre, generic and very disappointing.  The first arc basically boiled down to Bounty of the Month stories and the current arc looks to continue the same.  So, is this Annual another been there done that story or does it finally give fans a story they've been waiting for.  Let's find out...

After everything I just said, this issue continues the story of the regular run with Lobo working as the Void Whisper's Whip.  Yes, that means another bounty, but this one is a game changer...Lobo's target is none other than the head Yellow Lantern, Sinestro.

The issue began with Lobo going after his mark in an indirect and interesting way.  Instead of hunting down Sinestro, he's collecting Yellow Rings in hopes that Sinestro will come after them and force a face-to-face confrontation he can take advantage of.  While it didn't work as planned, it was the best opener that this book has seen and had me pumped for the rest of the issue.

After a quick visit to his information broker (who if you are like me, reminded you of the excellent Mass Effect franchise), Lobo shifts gears and goes a new route.  He heads off to an excellent set piece...a decommissioned space prison whose warden hasn't gotten the "closed for business" memo yet.  Of course, a crazy battle breaks out and of course, Lobo wins in the end and takes off with his trophy, some captured Korugarians. The perfect bait to attract Sinestro.

Now this is the Lobo book I've been waiting all this time for.  Lobo is smart, brutal and up to this point, the book was  non-stop brutal fun.  With the chance of the Sinestro Corps showing up, it could only get better, right?  Well, not quite.

The Corps shows, but Sinestro is no where to be seen.  Lobo and the Yellow Lanterns start their dance, but instead of it being a fight for the ages, it just fell flat on it's face.  Maybe it was because Lobo wasn't really trying or the fact that you know he can't die, but this fight just didn't have the impact it should have.  It was just a means to an end and a downer of a middle stanza.

It does ultimately lead to Sinestro.  Unfortunately, the fight between these titans fares only slightly better than the one we just left.  While I liked seeing Lobo's opinions (and admiration?) of Sinestro, the fight was underwhelming, especially after the twist ending was revealed.  I felt like a sucker when I realized that this Annual was only a setup for a future Sinestro/Lobo crossover.  I know how Ralphie feels now...drink more Olvatine, indeed.

Overall, I enjoyed this Annual enough.  It was a stronger story than what we've been getting in the regular book and I credit that to Sinestro being the best villain we've seen so far.  Unfortunately, the issue's strong beginning petered out a bit by the middle and never really recovers.  That being said, I'm actually looking forward to the crossover I was duped into caring about.

I loved Robson Rocha's art.  It was beautiful in it's brutality and his character design of Lobo had flashed of old school which I really enjoyed.  The highlight was definitely Sinestro and his whole Corps who looked outstanding.  I wouldn't mind seeing his name pop up on future covers of Lobo.

Bits and Pieces:

While this is one of my favorite issues of Lobo since the reboot, that isn't saying much.  The issue started off with a bang and while it lost steam towards the middle part, the twist ending has me looking forward to the crossover between this and Sinestro coming up soon.  Robson Rocha's art was really good and if you've been looking for this new Lobo to step up his game, you could do worse than buying this issue.



  1. Question: not that I'm all that really invested in this series (I'm basically just reading it because of Bunn, and even that I'm beginning to waver on), but didn't last issue, #8, end with a clifffhanger about Lobo getting implanted with those mind-controlling-bug things? Are we just ignoring that happened, or is that paying off later? Maybe that mind-controlling-bug-girl from the end of issue #8 is the one that's really controlling Lobo–could it be that she's actually the one who has a beef with Sinestro? I'm grasping at straws here, I know...

    1. the cliffhanger to that will be finished up in the following issue and then we pick back up with this story arc in September, which crosses over with Sinestro

    2. Eric is right, that's why the crossover is in September. It's stupid, but they shoved this in because July had five weeks so the extra week got all the Annuals.

    3. I actually kind of liked this issue. I loved the bits where Lobo was talking about madness, both his own and the criminal element that he is a part of, and the blackness of space being a kind of catalyst - to me, that's a very evocative image. I especially loved one panel where we're shown Lobo's sneering face and how it kind of blends with the starry background behind him, as if implying that Lobo himself and the blackness surrounding the stars are possibly one and the same entity- to me THAT would have been so much more interesting than the assassin of the month issues and revealing all of Lobo's background.

    4. The Annual actually came out the week before #9 but the reading order should be #8, #9 then Annual #1. The end of #9 even says continued in Lobo Annual #1.

  2. Something has occurred to me while reading this: "“Lobo” denotes a class of hunter-killers who acted as the imperial guard for a now-dead galactic empire." Old-school fans may bemoan the fact that it's no longer Khundian for "He who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it", but potentially it still can since words in one language can mean something else in another. Plus, the beauty of having "Lobo" as a title for these killers is that it's suggestive of there being multiple Lobos around!