Back Issues: Doomsday, Lobo coming to ‘Krypton’

Pre-Superman series resumed this week

Photo courtesy of SyFy Emmett J. Scanlan is shown as Lobo in a scene from SyFy’s “Krypton.”

SyFy’s “Krypton” returned Wednesday, and the second season exploring Superman’s native planet before his birth will feature familiar comic foes Doomsday and Lobo.

Outside of Lex Luthor, Superman doesn’t have the most dynamic rogues gallery, but even casual fans may recognize the name of Doomsday. In the early ’90s, that monstrous, bony face drove many people to book stores and comic shops to snatch up “Superman” #75, in which Doomsday killed the Man of Steel. Despite knowing he was coming back, we were all convinced that this issue, polybagged in black and bearing a bloody Superman insignia, would make us insanely wealthy.

Currently, it would fetch a whopping $14, if it was still in that bag and pretty much mint condition, according to Multiverse Comics owner Mick Williams. So my kids will have to get scholarships for college.

In that introductory story, Doomsday was simply a malevolent force of nature, with no origin given. He tore through the Justice League (which, at the time, did not exactly have an A-list roster) and much of the United States on his way to Metropolis and a showdown with Superman. They both died; then both came back.

It took Doomsday a little longer. Three years later, in the limited series “Superman: Hunter/Prey,” he brought his origin with him. He was an artificial lifeform created on ancient Krypton and thrown into its then-harsh and unforgiving environment. Each time he died, he was cloned and sent back out. Eventually, the creature developed the ability to come back to life and adapt to whatever had killed it, so he essentially could never die the same way twice.

Doomsday (who didn’t get his name until Booster Gold faced him in the lead-up to Superman’s death) promptly rampaged across Krypton, destroying his creators and anything else in his way before moving on to other planets. Finally defeated by a being called the Radiant, Doomsday was fired into space and landed on Earth, just like Krypton’s last son.

Between the unnecessary connection to Krypton and the brutal nature of his genesis, I think I liked the no-origin better.

Doomsday has shown up over and over in various incarnations, each time losing a little bit of his edge, though he is still remembered as the guy who killed Superman, despite him being alive.

Also bound to cause trouble on “Krypton” this season is Lobo, a space-faring bounty hunter who may not technically fit the category of villain, but can only be described as a “hero” if you put “anti” in front of it.

Created as a parody of violent comic characters like Punisher and Wolverine, Lobo is the last surviving member of his species, the Czarnians. In one version of his origin, that’s because he murdered the rest of them. Over-the-top violent, the “Main Man” works as a bounty hunter, taking out contracts to assassinate various heroes and villains, Santa Claus and more.

In a recent series of crossovers between DC and Looney Tunes characters, Wile E. Coyote actually hired Lobo to kill the Road Runner. He had about as much success as his employer.

As happens with popular bad guys, writers have at times attempted to soften Lobo by giving him an affinity for Space Dolphins and setting him up to work with heroes. The only time I ever found him appealing was when he was magically regressed to a teenager and joined the Young Justice team. Eventually, he met a messy end and promptly returned to life, leaving an imperfect clone christened Slobo to fill his spot on the roster.

After DC’s recent sort-of reboots — New 52 and Rebirth — multiple versions of Lobo have popped up. The one that stuck was revealed to be a member of the secret first Suicide Squad. Despite his homicidal tendencies, Lobo has a rather strict code of personal honor, which Batman played upon in getting him to join his own personal Justice League of America.

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Recommended Reading

* “The Death of Superman” Vol. 1 — Collects Doomsday’s rampage and (temporarily) fatal confrontation with the Man of Steel.

* “Superman: Doomsday” — A collection of stories featuring Doomsday’s origin and rematches with Superman.

* “Lobo by Keith Giffen & Alan Grant” Volume 1 — For better or worse, this collection has some of Lobo’s earliest appearances as he takes on the writer of his unauthorized biography, Santa Claus and his own offspring, among others. Certainly not for younger readers.

* “Lobo/Road Runner Special” #1 — A lighter (but still not overly kid-friendly) look at the Main Man teaming up with Wile E. Coyote to exterminate the latter’s arch-nemesis.

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