From the minds behind Vault Comics’ Money Shot comes Superman vs. Lobo #1. Here, writers Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie deliver their take on the two diametrically opposed siblings of solitude. Joining them in this adventure is artist Mirka Aldolfo, whose style breathes life into this debut. With a simple premise and great creative team, how does DC’s latest Black Label offering measure up?
SPOILERS AHEAD for Superman vs. Lobo #1!
The issue’s narrative throughline remains average at best. We follow Superman as he ventures out into space to rescue a planet from an alien threat, only to find the main man, Lobo, already engaged after the monster interrupted his vacation. What follows is a loose team up that results in Superman glorified and Lobo forgotten, however Lobo takes it personally this time. He then swears vengeance on Superman and takes the fight to earth to #CancelSuperman. It’s a bizarre and simple setup; very fitting for a ‘vs.’ title, but does little beyond this.
The issue derives a lot of its humor from internet and social media gags as Lobo becomes an influencer. Both social media use and abuse is woven into the heart of the narrative that at once reads as relevant and a bit too on the nose. Lobo’s status as an influencer becomes a pivotal plot point halfway through, and what starts out as a funny bit soon becomes eye-roll inducing. The jokes may work for some, but for me they fell short more often than not.
The character work also leaves one wanting. Superman himself reads inconsistent throughout. On one page, he’s the blue boy scout, all smiles and inspiration, and then on the next he can give into blind rage. Random moments such as this where his character breaks the mold do not read cohesively. Lobo on the other hand is consistently juvenile and over the top. His voice reads as one would expect full of crass euphemisms and bravado. One can tell the fun the writers had in crafting his dialogue, which ends up serving as a contrast to Superman’s characterization.
The issue also introduces a new character, Dr. Semedea Flik. An alien biologist obsessed with these two last sons, she spends her time on the sidelines recording the book’s events and making notes to herself. Strangely enough, her presence doesn’t add much to the book and comes off as more annoying than humorous.
Where the book does make up for its missteps is in the art. Andolfo brings a fun and lighthearted tone to the book through her work. Her characters’ exaggerated expressions enhance the cartoonish style. Her art also helps a lot of the physical humor in the book work. The artwork is then further bolstered by Aria Prianto’s coloring. It pairs well with Andolfo’s style and matches the visual tone.
Is Superman vs. Lobo #1 worth the price of admission? For fans of Lobo or Andolfo’s art it might be, but the issue doesn’t offer much else. Despite its oversized length, it doesn’t do much to deserve its prestige status or the accompanying higher price point. The story remains generic at best and the humor’s mileage will vary by reader. At the end of the day, Superman vs. Lobo #1 is a fairly middling debut with great art that tries to make up for the lackluster story.
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