When DC's Legends of Tomorrow finally revealed last night that Neron was the name of the demon who has been chasing down John Constantine since the season began, most normal people had the same thought:
"Oh, wow, they're doing James Tynion IV and Ming Doyle's Hellblazer run!"
There was, however, a small portion of the audience who likely thought, "Oh, wow, they have to do Lobo #22!"
Now, let's be clear: Lobo is almost certainly off limits to Legends, on account of the Main Man appearing on Krypton this coming season.
(Minor ironic footnote to that: the actor playing Lobo actually appeared on Matt Ryan's Constantine show in the role of New Orleans police officer James Corrigan, who comic book fans know as The Spectre. Last night's episode of Legends also took place in New Orleans.)
With that out of the way, though, let's talk about Lobo #22, which tied into the Underworld Unleashed event that introduced Neron to the DC Universe in a splashy way.
In Underworld Unleashed, Neron made his bid to control Hell by trying to make deals for the souls of DC superheroes and supervillains. He would offer them whatever their hearts desired, and then use his magic to give things like increased powers, immortality, etc. etc.
For the most part, heroes turned him down (because deals with the devil are not all that heroic...looking at you, "Spider-Man: One More Day!"), while the villains (who probably figured they were going to Hell anyway) took the deal and upgraded their powers, gear, and the rest.
There were some notable exceptions, in both the villains who didn't take a deal arena and the heroes who did. But probably the funniest story in the whole batch was -- you guessed it -- the one with Lobo.
Lobo's tie-in issue centered on a bounty he was chasing through space. The being, whose name was Doc Bugg, had come to Earth to hide out, but Lobo was on his tail. Praying for help, he was found by Neron, who offered Bugg the power to fight Lobo. When Bugg asked to be made into a supervillain, but did not have time to come up with a good power set, Nero went with something "apt," giving him the appearance of, and power over, insects.
A sampling of dialogue:
Bugg: What? I can’t hear a word you’re saying!
Neron: That’s because your ears are in your legs now, in the manner of a spider.
Bugg: How the hell is this supposed to stop Lobo?
Neron: That’s your problem.
If that does not sound like a conversation somebody might have on Legends, we don't know what does.
The ultimate disposition of the story is positively Beebo-worthy, too.
You see, during the course of the story, fans learned that part of what motivates Lobo's nonstop violence is a radio in his brain that is tuned to a satellite channel which broadcasts a single, incredibly violent song on a constant loop and has for decades.
The DJ finally needs to step away from the job for a haircut, and his replacement does not take Lobo's threats seriously, transforming the thrash-metal marathon into a greatest-hits-of-soul playlist.
After Lobo kills his buggy bounty, Neron approaches the Main Man about taking his soul. He offers Lobo whatever he could want for it, and Lobo agrees -- demanding Neron's own soul in return. When the demon says he doesn't actually have a soul, Lobo accuses him of backing out on the deal. As a sign of good faith, Neron returns Lobo's soul and offers him a favor...and the result? Lobo gives Neron his other "soul" -- now the devil himself is walking around with the Jackson Five permanently lodged in his head.
Again: if you remove Lobo from the equation and give it to, say, Heat Wave, does this not sound like a story that is just begging for the Legends to tell a version of it?0comments
DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following episodes of Arrow on The CW.
You can get a digital copy of Lobo #22 at ComiXology for under $2.