Aliens, Shrinkers, and clowns! Oh my! It’s BATMAN BEYOND UNLIMITED #12. We’ve been at this for a little over a year, and the longest running plotline is almost complete! Oh joy!
Also, Lobo makes a cameo. Oh joy.
I might get flak over it, but I don’t care for Lobo.
For those who aren’t familiar with the “main man”, Lobo is a space biker/bounty hunter who came about in the eighties as a parody of the invincible comic anti-hero, in particular Marvel’s Wolverine. As such, he became really, really popular in the nineties, much to confusion of even his creator Keith Giffen. He’s nigh unkillable (party because both heaven and hell refuse to let him in), and spends his time being crude, picking fights, exterminating his own species for kicks, and being a comedic villain protagonist.
The problem I have with Lobo is I don’t find him funny or a very good parody like so many others do. Occasionally, depending on the writer, I can gel with the memetic badass status Lobo maintains, but as a joke I got over his shtick very quickly. And when I can’t see a joke character as funny, I have to take him seriously. And as anything other than a cheap punchline of ironic humor, Lobo is a terrible character. He’s unpleasant, selfish, sociopathic, annoyingly immortal, and stops any serious story he arrives in flat.
So no, I don’t like Lobo. Much to my displeasure, he guest stars in the Superman Beyond storyline in this issue. Swell.
Since the attempt to capture Superman themselves failed, the Trillian advance team hire Lobo to bring in the man of steel. Cue an extended fight between Superman and Lobo, with additional guest appearance by the Martian Manhunter. Of course we couldn’t advertise the return of a founding member of the DC animated Justice League on the front cover, but we could put Lobo on it! What’s funny is, in the normal misleading cover way, Lobo claims he’s probably going to kill Superman, despite being given explicit instructions to take Superman alive. Somehow that makes the lying cover even worse, since death was never even an option even without the meta-textual supposition of Superman’s continued life.
Yes, the Trillians did misrepresent what Superman did to their planet. See, Superman in his younger days came to an alien world and freed a slave race from under the Trillian’s control. Unfortunately, this didn’t just cause a labor shortage; it caused a war that rages into the future present of the Beyond timeline. We actually get some complexity up in here, as Superman is forced to face up to the results of his own actions, no matter how inherently noble they might be. And he will face those consequences…next month!
In the meantime, we get yet another one-off side story featuring the origin of a future Justice League member. This time, it’s Micron, the size-changer perpetually either healing in a tube or under mind control. In the periods when he isn’t either of those things, he’s still getting the shaft in stories that feature him, as this side story spends half of the page count filling in details with Bruce Wayne’s retirement from both crime fighting and Wayne industries.
Those shrinkers always get short-changed, don’t they? I’m thankful we got to see Micron’s origin story, as he’s getting to do just a little more than he normally does. Even if it amounts mostly to putting Toyman in the face.
And finally, “10,000 Clowns” continues with the Joker King holding future Batman over a ledge by a noose. What follows is mostly two things: having Terry McGinnis brood over his life choices, and some advancing of plot threads.
In the case of the latter, the police start wrangling Jokerz en masse and tallying the dead, while future Catwoman and Vigilante ingratiate themselves with said authorities. In their own way, of course. Oh, and Maxine finally shows up in the story after however long ago she was kidnapped. Remember her? No? Evidently the writers realized this would happen, as the caption of her one page reintroduction (to be expanded later, no doubt) actually includes this: “Whatever happened to Maxine Gibson?”
Yes, even the comic realized that loose end has been dangling for way too long. People were starting to forget she was in this comic as well.
Hopefully next issue will really be the finale to the Joker King business. It’s not like we couldn’t have done that in this issue. That would simply be impossible. It’d cut into Lobo’s panel time, after all.
No, I’m still not over that. Bite me.