Lobo: The Last Czarnian
by Keith Giffen & Alan Grant
(Art by Simon Bisley)
This book was the first story produced when DC chose to relaunch the character of Lobo. Here the foul-mouthed violence-loving alien bounty hunter is tasked with escorting a prisoner alive to the L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters. Lobo's task becomes all the more frustrating when he discovers that not only is the prisoner the only Czarnian to survive his genocide of his own people, but she was also his disapproving 4th Grade teacher. En route, a string of violent encounters leads to an ever-increasing number of antagonists in pursuit of Lobo and his prisoner.
Lobo had originally been a straightforward villain co-created by Giffen, but with this story he decided to reintroduce Lobo as an edgy anti-hero, intended as a parody of popular Marvel Comics characters Wolverine and the Punisher. The fact that this Lobo is a tongue-in-cheek creation is brilliantly conveyed throughout this book due to the work of Grant and artist Bisley. Those two had previously worked on the British series 2000AD which was (and is) famed for its dark humour and dry wit. In fact, this book reads more like a 2000AD story than it does standard DC fare and, as a big fan of 2000AD since I was a kid, that only works to the book's advantage. I'd be interested to find out if there's ever been a Lobo/Judge Dredd crossover...
I really enjoyed this book and I reckon it should appeal to anyone who also likes 2000AD or, ironically, those who like Wolverine and the Punisher.
4 out of 5
Logan: Shadow Society
by Howard Mackie & Mark Jason
(Art by Tomm Coker, Keith Aiken and Octavio Cariello)
Set long before his involvement with the X-Men and before he even became Weapon X, this story follows Logan as he investigates the murder of a fellow Canadian agent with help from his American friend Carol Danvers. Logan soon discovers that the existence of a subculture of powered individuals is about to revealed to the world; individuals known as mutants.
Whilst I like the idea of giving us a story of Logan's days as a Canadian secret agent and I very much like the idea of setting it as the truth about mutants is about to be revealed to the world, there's a lot of issues with this book.
The main one is that because it's a prequel story, none of Logan's later character development is present and therefore here he feels a bit one-dimensional. Added to that is that because this was written before Logan's true backstory was revealed (in 'Wolverine: Origin', reviewed here), Logan's claws are treated as an addition made later by the Weapon Plus Programme, rather than as a natural part of his mutation. The last thing anyone wants, surely, is a Wolverine story where he doesn't have claws.
It is nice to get a bit of exploration of Logan's partnership with Carol Danvers because that was an alluded-to aspect of the 70s and 80s X-Men comics that always intrigued me.
3 out of 5