While Lobo might not seem like Justice League material, the early days of DC Rebirth saw him join Batman’s Justice League of America.
Every major team in the DC Universe needs a powerhouse who can be, on some level, its answer Superman. And for the DC Rebirth era Justice League of America, no one was better suited to that task than Lobo. The Main Man is a brutish, intergalactic bounty hunter who, while he doesn’t have as many powers as the Man of Steel, can more than keep up with him in terms of raw strength.
And it was that strength that earned him a spot on Batman’s Justice League of America during the Rebirth era.
Lobo wasn’t initially even in consideration for this team, but events prompted Batman to reconsider who was worthy of a second chance. At the time, Lobo was trapped in a secret prison known as the Catacombs. As revealed in Joshua Williamson, Tim Seeley, Jason Fabok, Tony S. Daniel, Jesus Merino and more’s Justice League vs Suicide Squad event, Amanda Waller, had taken Lobo and intended for him to be a part of her very first Suicide Squad alongside several other highly dangerous criminals. But controlling someone like the Last Czarnian is easier said than done, and it isn’t difficult to imagine that trying to convince Lobo to do anything against his will prompted Waller to start using more controllable villains for her covert operations squad.
And yet, controlling Lobo is what brought him to the Justice League of America in the first place. Alongside his fellow squad mates, Lobo was freed from their prison by Maxwell Lord only to be placed in an entirely different prison: his mind. Lord used his powers to influence each of them, and not even Lobo was spared from this. He became one of Lord’s puppets in his quest to unleash the Heart of Darkness upon the world. This was only a temporary misfortune for him, however.
Recognizing that Lobo was one of the greater threats so long as he was under Lord’s control, Batman took drastic action to stop him. Implanting a bomb into Lobo’s head, Batman detonated it, destroying the Czarnian’s brain. This was a calculated risk on Batman’s part, trusting that Lobo’s healing abilities would compensate for even decapitation. It turns out he was right, and Lobo regenerated his entire head, freeing from Lord’s control.
After the fight, Lobo volunteered to be a part of Batman’s new team. It wasn’t because Batman inspired him or even because he felt he had some genuine good to offer the world. He joined because he felt he owed Batman for freeing him. Lobo has an odd sense of honor, he may be willing to kill his entire species, but he also refuses to leave a debt standing, especially when it is his own. And if it kept him out of cell for the time being and gave him some good fights, then all the better.
Lobo spent most of his time in the Steve Orlando-penned Justice League of America acting as its muscle, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t contribute more to the team than wisecracks and punches. He was an advocate for Ryan Choi being inducted into the new team, even teaching the young Atom as much as he could to prepare him to take on a more active role as a hero.
But once that was all said and done, Lobo decided to move on. He felt his debt had been paid, and he saw no more reason to stick around. Ryan confronted him about this, deducing that Lobo felt his debt had been paid much earlier and that he could have left then but didn’t. Lobo didn’t deny it, perhaps hinting that even though he is a bounty hunter, there is some decency inside of him.
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