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Lobo: Facts Only Huge Fans Know About DC's Famous Bounty Hunter

Self-appointed as the "Main Man," Lobo is one of DC Comics' most dangerous and outrageous characters. A stark contrast to the publishing company's bright and shiny superheroes, Lobo is a much grittier personality who plays by his own rules. Frequently followed by a path of destruction, anytime Lobo appears in a comic book the stakes are raised, but readers can also bet they're in for a few laughs along the way. There are many reasons why this alien bounty hunter has become a fan-favorite among a roster packed full of powerhouses.

Cruising his way across the galaxy on his space-travelling motorbike, fans have long awaited Lobo's arrival on the big screen. There is a strong possibility that the dark anti-hero would change the dynamic of live-action DC movies and turn the tides in the company's favor in its ongoing rivalry with Marvel. Now, with the arrival of James Gunn and Peter Safran in the driver's seat of the DC Universe, it seems as if the Main Man's debut is an inevitability.

As cinematic gears turn and contracts are made, there's never been a better time to explore how the hardened bounty hunter made a name for himself fighting against heroes like Superman and Batman, and why Lobo has been an essential boost of adrenaline for DC Comics. Continue reading for a deep dive into one of the most explosive immortal baddies in comic book history.

DC's answer to Wolverine

Before investigating Lobo's illustrious comic career and the character's conflicted origins, it's essential to illuminate his value and impact. Although Marvel and DC Comics have long stood as the pillars of superhero comic books, they are two different faces of the same coin. DC's lineup of mascots is commonly displayed with godlike humans capable of feats beyond comprehension. Meanwhile, the roster filling Marvel's bullpen are traditionally more monster-like, hidden behind masks and mutations that make them seem inhuman. While DC's boy scouts were icons of the genre for decades, by the 1990s, audiences began to lean towards the grimmer comics from Marvel.

While Spider-Man and Batman duked it out as the top-sellers of 1990 (per Comichron), Marvel was winning fan affection thanks to grittier and more hardened characters like Punisher and the newly-arrived Cable. Above all else, X-Men's Wolverine was slicing his way to the top of the comic book food chain with his cynical snarl and rogue spirit. To combat the changing tides, DC opted to revive a near-forgotten but an alluringly tepid villain from "Omega Men" #3, and Lobo received a self-titled miniseries by the end of 1990. Originally serving as a parody of Marvel's dark characters, "Lobo" quickly found a sincere fanbase as its titular antihero developed into one of DC's most popular personalities. "I have no idea why Lobo took off," creator Keith Giffen told Newsarama, "I came up with him as an indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine –- somehow, he caught on as the high violence poster boy. Go figure."

Lobo's contrasting origin stories

Unlike most uber-popular comic characters that have been around for decades, Lobo could be considered a newcomer to the genre. Still, that has not stopped DC Comics from making his origins and backstory as complicated as possible. When the Main Man first appeared in "Omega Men" #3, he was the visual opposite of the scruffy-looking leather-clad biker portrayed today, instead wearing a shiny orange and purple skin-tight bodysuit with David Bowie-inspired makeup. Introduced as a bounty hunter, this original Lobo was the last survivor of his extraterrestrial species, the Velorpians, who were wiped out by another alien race because of their inherently violent behavior. However, in "Lobo" Vol. 2 #0, it was revealed that he was responsible for the demise of his people, the Czarnians, after releasing a plague of flying scorpion-like insects.

In 2011, as part of DC's company-wide "New 52" retcon, the recognizably bulky Lobo was revealed to be an imposter and was replaced by a skinnier Czarnian with similar abilities. Short-lived, this updated version of Lobo defeated his former self and starred in his own self-titled series. Thankfully, after yet-another relaunch of its characters with "DC Rebirth," DC returned Lobo to his grubbier identity. As evident, Lobo's origins are as complicated as they come -– and that's without getting into the character's history with cloning.

A long list of powers and abilities

Regardless of the many variations and inconsistent origins, Lobo is almost always portrayed as a ruthless and powerful intergalactic bounty hunter. He's a formidable foe to DC's heaviest hitters and near impossible to kill. Truthfully, the Last Czarnian is best described as overpowered. Off the top, Lobo has the strength, speed, and durability to match DC's greatest heroes, including Superman. Although the potency of his abilities is inconsistent among different appearances, the space biker has even more tricks up his sleeves (not that he often wears anything with sleeves).

Like his Marvel inspiration, Wolverine, Lobo has a keen sense of smell and can regenerate his body. However, the DC character's power goes beyond fixing wounds efficiently, as he can regenerate an entirely new body from a single drop of blood, essentially cloning himself. And while you couldn't tell by looking at him, the gruff bounty hunter has a genius-level intellect -– mostly when it comes to matters of violence and destruction, but he does have a working knowledge of numerous cultures around the galaxy and he can speak in 17,897 unique languages. Adding to the special skills section on Lobo's resume are an inherent ability to sense weakness in his opponents and expertise in multiple forms of combat. However, what makes the character so over-the-top compared to his comic book peers is the fact that he was banished from the afterlife during the "Lobo's Back" miniseries, essentially granting him immortality.

An unbreakable contract

When you are indestructible, the last of your kind, and have your own space-travelling motorbike, you don't need to play by everyone else's rules. Still, Lobo maintains a strict code of ethics -– as perverse as they may be. Like his name suggests ("Lobo" meaning "wolf" in Spanish), the Main Man is a lone dog, selfish and arrogant on his solo journey through time. However, as a bounty hunter, Lobo is a man of his word and once he signs a contract, there is almost no going back.

While there are many examples of Lobo satisfying his obligations in comic books, the best example occurred in "Superman: The Animated Series." The biker appears in two consecutive episodes of the cartoon, where he first completes his obligation of capturing the Man of Steel, and then, upon being captured himself, joins forces with Superman and pledges a new oath to leave Earth alone. Subsequently, while Lobo proudly fulfills his oaths, he has made a habit of never going above and beyond, as if giving any more than promised would equally break his word. It may be the Main Man's trustworthy codes and surprising honesty that made Stan Lee choose him as his favorite DC character, as he revealed in a YouTube interview.

Dawg, his not-pet

For many years, Lobo could be seen accompanied by a bulldog named Dawg. However, the grizzled bounty hunter took offence to anybody referring to the canine as his pet. The animal first appeared in the 1992 one-shot "Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special," and would remain a loyal companion to the space biker despite the latter showing zero emotional attachment to the creature. Although Dawg visually appears to be a standard Earth canine, he has alien origins, as made evident by his ability to survive in the vacuum of space while he travels along with Lobo through the cosmos. Additionally, the animal has been known to smoke Lobo's cigars at times.

Lobo's detachment from the mutt serves the bounty hunter as he often uses the creature as a shield, yet the Main Man has been known to go out of his way to save the bulldog from danger as well. Unfortunately, it's Lobo who is responsible for the animal's death by aggressively stomping on him believing that he's possessed by an alien virus in "Lobo" Vol. 2 issue #58. There's some uncertainty about whether the animal survived the traumatic event, as Dawg later reappears in "Green Lantern" Vol. 4 issue #54. However, in this iteration, Lobo acknowledges him as a pet and his appearance has changed. Additionally, Dawg was canonically revived after DC's Flashpoint event, taking part in a mission with Lobo and Harley Quinn in "Harley's Little Black Book" #6.

Lobo and Space Dolphins

Although the Main Man has mostly shown indifference towards the dog that follows him around, Lobo does have a favorite animal: the space dolphin. Affectionately referring to them as "fishies," the hardened space biker has a soft spot for the floating cosmic aquatic mammals. In the events of the one-shot "Lobo/Demon: Hellowe'en," Lobo is required to think about one nice thing in order to defeat a terrible monster — a difficult task for the angry biker. "I love my fishies," he said cracking a rare smile and saving the galaxy, "so sleek an' spacey. So innocent an' trustin'. My pretty little fishies."

Lobo's connection to space dolphins was first explored in "Lobo" Vol. 2 issue #34, in which he spends an afternoon with the cetaceans to relax after a hard night. Running into trouble, the Main Man becomes a champion of the space creatures after saving them from poachers. He's even been known to ride one after developing a bond with a specific dolphin named Lundgren (after, of course, Dolph Lundgren). Later, another space dolphin becomes Lobo's personal assistant when the bounty hunter is named the archbishop of a new religion.

A vow of non-violence

Swearing, liquor, women, and violence top Lobo's list of all-time favorite things, which made it all the more jarring when the bounty hunter swore all of them off. During the events of DC's "52," a team of heroes discover the Main Man operating a refugee camp in a ravaged sector of space. As the appointed Archbishop of the First Celestial Church of the Triple Fish-God, the reborn Lobo is the caretaker of the mystical Emerald Eye of Ekron and leader to the displaced monsters of sector 3500.

Later in the same series, after helping the super team of explorers, Archbishop Lobo delivers the sacred Emerald Eye to his triple-headed fish god. In exchange for the magical artifact, the god agrees to relinquish Lobo's solemn vow of non-violence. As it turns out, he should have received the gift first. Upon learning that the emerald is the only thing that can kill the dolphin-like god, Lobo makes the surprise move of destroying his own deity, ending his time as a religious figure.

He joined the Justice League of America

Based on Lobo's skewed code of ethics, you'd think he would be one of the last people to join Earth's shining pillars of heroics. Yet, for a time, the Main Man put aside his murderous bounty-hunting rampage and joined Batman's new lineup of the Justice League of America. Of course, convincing the Last Czarnian to join the good guys was no simple task, and it started with the renegade bounty hunter serving a sentence as a member of the Suicide Squad.

In the events of "Justice League vs. Suicide Squad," Amanda Waller's original Suicide Squad team gets into a tussle with Superman's supergroup, and a new team is formed that includes Lobo alongside powerful villains such as Doctor Polaris and Rustam, led by Maxwell Lord. Unfortunately, the latter has control of the bounty hunter by way of brainwashing. Always the detective, Batman uses a bomb to explode Lobo's head, forcing it to regenerate and essentially clearing out Maxwell Lord's influence. Afterwards, in a debt of gratitude, Lobo accepts Batman's invitation to his new squad, the Justice League of America, alongside Atom, Killer Frost, and Black Canary. However, after serving a term, Lobo considers his debt paid and returns to his space-travelling bounty hunting.

Lobo's death battle with The Mask

Lobo is not associated with one particular hero, unlike so many other villains and anti-heroes. Deadpool is organically linked to the X-Men, Black Adam shares origins with Shazam, and Venom wouldn't exist without Spider-Man. But the Main Man is a force unto himself, traveling the DC universe and starting fights with anyone and everyone, including Superman, Green Lantern, and the Teen Titans. Similarly, the character is seemingly not limited to his original publishing company's roster, as he's also had incidents with Wolverine, Judge Dredd, and Santa Claus. Still, one of Lobo's most popular comic book run-ins occurred in a 1997 two-part series in which he faced The Mask.

The Mask is best known for the 1994 feature film of the same name in which he was portrayed by Jim Carrey. But not many fans are aware that "The Mask" started in comic books. The character debuted with a trilogy of limited series in the early '90s. Inspired by The Joker, "Big Head" is a dangerous character with powers that work similarly to cartoon physics, including shapeshifting, body manipulation, instantaneous healing, and immortality. Unsurprisingly, when Mask and Lobo's paths crossed it proved to be catastrophic, destroying Manhattan and an entire solar system in their wake. Subsequently, "Lobo/Mask" has become a cult classic among comic readers for its over-the-top nature and a thought-provoking twist ending.

Lobo's fowl Marvel crossover

One reason that comic books are so popular and earn as many adaptations in film as they do is that creators and publishers rarely miss a creative opportunity. The limitlessness of comic books even led the two largest competitive publishing companies to drop their rivalry long enough to collaborate on an entirely new universe. Amalgam Comics was a two-year collection of books that blended Marvel and DC, crossbreeding their most popular characters into all-new heroes such as Iron Lantern and Doctor Strangefate. Again, not to miss a golden opportunity, the comical Lobo was melded with one of Marvel's more off-beat characters, Howard the Duck.

"Lobo the Duck" was a one-shot title that was released in the second series of Amalgam Comics. The series follows the titular character and his shapeshifting pet Impossible Dog (a blend of Impossible Man and Dawg) as they investigate the murders of other Amalgam characters. Along the way, the Main Duck comes into conflict with a range of wacky villains, including Gold Kidney-Lady and Doctor Bongface. Unfortunately, the book ends on a cliffhanger that was left unfulfilled. Still, the humor of the single issue has shined as a highlight of the publishing company crossover event, despite remaining outside of the main continuity.

The holiday-themed Lobo short film

As a cult favorite character, there's always been an appetite for Lobo to appear in a live-action adaptation. However, while DC searches for a way to bring the Main Man to the big screen, it's worth noting that they were beaten out years ago with a 13-minute short film. Directed by Scott Leberecht, "The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special" was created as a project under the American Film Institute's director's studies program.

The short follows the plot from the comic book of the same name. It involves Lobo being contracted to kill Santa Claus by the Easter Bunny, who wants to have full control of the holidays. Operating on a minimal budget, the fan film boasts a surprising cast, with Andrew Bryniarski of "Street Fighter" and "Batman Returns" playing the title role. Released in 2002, there's not much to the project beyond the gore and humor of Lobo killing holiday mascots, but it does highlight the potential of a big-budget Hollywood feature.

Will we ever see a Lobo movie?

In the time since Lobo's unceremonious and unofficial short film debut, the character has been consistently shopped around for a full-scale project. Reportedly, a big-budget movie featuring the Main Man was much closer than expected, with Guy Ritchie set to direct a PG-13 take on the bounty hunter in 2009 (per Variety). Again in 2012, another Lobo feature was shopped around with Brad Peyton attached to direct (per Deadline). And while this iteration also failed to materialize, the near-casting of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as the motorbiking hunter (per Geeks of Doom) did turn out to be a prelude to the actor portraying another DC antihero on the big screen in 2022's "Black Adam."

As recently as 2018, there were still talks of a Lobo movie being manifested with Michael Bay joining talks to direct, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, budgetary issues kept the parties involved from nailing down the project. Lobo finally broke into live-action later that year during the second season of "Krypton," played by Emmett J. Scanlan. While it seems that hopes for a Lobo movie may have flickered in recent years, despite the big-name directors that continue to be attached, the Main Man may be finding new life once again. The new co-head of the DC Universe, James Gunn, has recently teased a potential upcoming project. Meanwhile, "Aquaman" actor Jason Momoa has expressed his interest in becoming the intergalactic bounty hunter.