Two Sides of the New Lobo Redesign Coin By John Garcia
While I was ready to start the weekend fresh after a whole day of “BatFleck” internet controversy, this happened. The NEW Lobo for DC’s New 52 designs came out. Apparently, the initial Lobo of the New 52 is NOT the real Lobo, and this one is. DC editor in Chief Bob Harras announced part of their logic for this Lobo: “This Lobo is equal parts strong, vicious, and driven. There’s a darker and more logical idea about what a force of nature like him is capable of. After all, this is someone who can infiltrate high society, fly a space ship, and adhere to a very specific moral code that’s not your typical anti-hero one.”
That explanation halted my initial knee-jerk, “This is not MY Lobo” reaction. After all, that image took off in my imagination. This new Lobo is not as much Edward Cullen as a lot of people seem to be outraged about, but more the Benedict Cumberbatch Kahn. He is a ruthless killer, and if need be can be a very dark “force of nature,” yet his outward appearance is very restrained. That restraint, in the way we only get an implicit sense of his power can make him more monstrous.
This new Lobo would have that reputation, yet look like that, and integrate into society while having such destructive potential. It makes him more of a new kind of villain or anti-hero, one that perhaps mirrors both our current society’s fears and concepts of power. Our society nowadays sees enemies not outside national borders, but within. This new Lobo can be that calm controlled, and most importantly, unnoticeable monster. His combat capabilities does not rely on a brutish build or rudimentary weaponry, but a sleeker set of technology-heavy weaponry. This also reflects a new type of individual in today’s age, one whose intellect and subtle restraint (or a potentially more dangerous implied power) is highlighted by his combat capabilities.
Again, this is merely speculation from what Bob Harras announced and what I see projected from his character design. They might not even have the Cumberbatch Kahn type of character in mind for this one, but this one perspective I can present to you, the readers, one that is at least more calm, than the “OMG, Lobo is now Edward Cullen” or “OMG, where’s MY Lobo?!”
BUT….. WAIT THERE’S MORE…..
On the other side of the Lobo redesign coin is a different concern. As much as I want DC’s New 52 to explore new possibilities for their characters, this redesign reminds me of Amanda Waller’s redesign for the New 52. I loved Amanda Waller. She has an awesome personality, a complex set of motivations, and she is presented in a very unique form, an overweight woman of color. She stood out, but not in a bad way. She stood out, and she OWNED the spotlight when she is on a comic book panel, or even when she’s in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
This pre-New 52 Waller presents the readers with an alternate avatar for power and attention, which is refreshing. I thought the old Lobo, even though he is ripped with muscles, also has an air of unconventional attractiveness working for him. He is not the pretty boy new Lobo is. He is crude, even disgusting at times. His motivation as an anti-hero is equally complex, and sometimes odd or amusing, but that’s what made him an interesting character. He isn’t the regular impossibly beautiful hero like the rest of the heroes and even villains.
These unique outward characteristics of both Waller and Lobo made the characters stand out, and gave the readers an interesting alternative to the rest of the impossibly beautiful heroes and heroines. Now, Amanda Waller, while still a complex and strong-willed character, is just another impossibly beautiful face and figure in a sea of spandex. The new Lobo, the Bededict Cumberbatch Lobo, while potentially interesting a character, as I mentioned, is another impossibly beautiful pretty boy in the sea of others.
Is this good? Is this bad? I’m not sure either. It is definitely something to have in the backs of our minds the next time we see them on a comic book and go “Wow, they look good.” Perhaps, making these unique characters have the same cookie-cutter impossibly beautiful looks as everyone highlights the most important aspect of the, their minds, and their personalities. Perhaps, the creative team simply thought it’s more marketable to have a sexy Amanda Waller and a pretty boy for Lobo and nothing else, but even that is an equal-opportunity eye candy for everyone.
Again, these are just other perspectives for you, the readers, to think about. There are many other perspectives shouted everywhere else on the internet, but I hope this set of perspectives provides a bit more restrained logic in its wake.
Check out some concept art for Lobo below. Click on the images to enlarge!