Lobo’s new design has been making the rounds online, sparking controversy among people with too much time on their hands. I’m far from exempt from that category, but for once I’m staying out of the saber-rattling party. Let’s take a fresh look at the design before I explain why I’m leaving my torch and pitchfork at home.
There’s a chance that this design is absolutely brilliant. Hear me out.
Lobo’s roots are in parody. A great deal of his back catalogue takes his hilariously stupid premise seriously, but Lobo was originally pitched and presented as a parody of the inane tropes of his time. He was every grim nineties self-insert anti-hero stapled together. “The Main Man” mocked our (semi)temporary fixation on hulking mass murderers with healing factors and guns the size of Neptune, giving us a character that personally killed the rest of his planet before becoming an intergalactic bounty hunter. It worked, and the masses were pleased. For all the wrong reasons, but pleased nonetheless. Now let’s return to the new design.
Doesn’t it look like everything stupid about superhero comics today? Lobo has been arbitrarily aged down, given a GQ model makeover, and saddled with yet another suit of glowing armor. If this Lobo is a parody of the parade of incompetence that has plagued the New 52, then it’s one of the most amusing turns the character has taken in a long time. A hint of self-awareness is just what DC needs to reclaim a slot on my pull list. I’d also accept quality storytelling, but I try not to be too picky.
For once, I’m going to be optimistic. I might have coined “positivity is for other people,” but nameless writers are free to embrace hypocrisy. It’s the small piece of freedom we receive in exchange for making less money than a high school janitor. Next month, I plan on using this website’s profits to treat myself to a gumball on my birthday. Two if I’m feeling extravagant. Three would bankrupt me for a year.
I am very, very broke.
The real problem DC faces isn’t a bad redesign, or even a dozen bad redesigns. The elephant in the room is that DC is stuck
recycling reinventing old ideas after a reboot intended to reinvigorate their line. The New 52 needs a new approach. That’s a problem no number of relaunches, reboots, or redesigns can fix.