OK, this was…something.
Issue: Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme #1, November 2020
Writers: Sam Humphries, Becky Cloonan, and Frank Tieri
Artists: Rags Morales, Tyler Kirkham, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz
The Plot: Lobo is on a mission in the Death Metals version of the universe.
Commentary: Ho boy. Where to start…
See, this is detailing a bit on how Lobo went on a mission for Lex Luthor to get some of that death metal to maybe save the multiverse. Does Lobo care one iota about saving the multiverse? Of course not. But he has a job to do, and he’ll do it.
The thing is, this one-shot is an odd bird where the story is told by three sets of writers and artists. It’s not an anthology issue. Each chapter tells more of the same story. It’s just told by different creators for each story. Lobo gets a mission, he matches wits (such as they are) with his Dark Multiverse counterpart the Batman Who Frags or the Batmain Man (either works), meets up with Hawkman, gets the metal, and then fiddles with it because he can use it to alter reality or something. The Batman Who Frags (the name I prefer, honestly) isn’t much of an adversary. Lobo makes him look like a chump without trying too hard. And in the end, he gives over the package to Lex Luthor as promised.
Honestly, the highlight is probably when Lobo reimagines classic DC origin stories with himself as the main character. Since he can alter reality, that happens, sort of.
But the thing is, Lobo is the sort of character that is very easy to get wrong. He doesn’t usually fit into more serious storylines, at least as a hero of some sort, for a reason. He’s a satirical look at the antihero sort of character that was very popular in the 90s, and like other satirical characters (Howard the Duck springs to mind), he’s the sort of character many creators want to use but few seem to get the voice of just right. This one had some moments that showed Lobo’s general violence and immaturity, but it still seems kinda weird to see a heroic Lobo that isn’t somehow being forced into the role or else doing so because he wants to get back at someone. Sure, he might gladly fight the Batmain Man, but there’s not much there for me to enjoy. I’m rather over all these alternate Batmen by now, or at least the ones that are basically just an established DC hero that is somehow also Batman.
Plus, the three stories seemed to be very different in tone and style from one another. That doesn’t really help.
That said, the next issue in the Death Metal saga according to DC Infinite is back to the main story with Scott Snyder probably showing how the Batman Who Laughs is once again just running roughshod over everybody and their grandma. Maybe I should enjoy some Lobo silliness while I can…