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Who is Lobo? DC’s most ironic villain, explained

With Jason Momoa rumored to be playing Lobo in James Gunn's DCU, we've taken a moment to break down everything you need to know about the underrated villain.

Who is Lobo? Lobo in the comics and Jason Momoa

Who is Lobo? DC has produced no shortage of wild antagonists. But there’s one big, bad alien guy who stands to be one the most memorable baddie (or, perhaps, anti-hero) yet, and he’s headed straight to the DCU. That’s right, we’re talking about Lobo.

This DCU creation may be unknown to some, but he was actually considered to be one of the best DC villains during the turn of the century. Now, there’s even more reason to get familiar with him, because it’s been reported that he’ll be playing a key role in James Gunn’s Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters era and will be portrayed by an actor we already know.

So, who is Lobo, and why is he so important? Read ahead for everything you need to know about one of the craziest and best DC characters you’ve never heard of.

Who is Lobo?

Lobo is a DC villain who first appeared in the comics during the 1980s and is an alien from the planet of Czarnia, as well as a mercenary and a bounty hunter.

He was first introduced in the ’80s in Omega Man #3, initially as a villain. His name is Spanish and Portuguese for ‘wolf’, which suits his appearance pretty well, we’d say.

He rotated throughout various comics during the decade but eventually stopped being used by writers until the 1990s, when he was brought back as the protagonist of his own comic book series.

Initially, he was supposed to be a parody of the gritter superhero trend that dominated at the time (and was specifically supposed to be a satire of Wolverine), but fans of this particular sub-genre ended up sincerely loving him.

Who is Lobo? Lobo on the Omega Man cover

Since then, he’s risen the ranks and become a more prominent character within DC over the years, and during the ’90s, he was actually one of the most popular DC figures. Apparently, Lobo was Stan Lee’s favorite DC character. Hey, if it’s good enough for Stan, it’s good enough for us!

Lobo’s co-creator, Keith Giffen, admitted that he found the character’s popularity completely puzzling.  “I have no idea why Lobo took off… I came up with him as an indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine hero prototype, and somehow, he caught on as the high-violence poster boy. Go figure,” he said in a 2006 Newsarama interview.

Who is Lobo? Lobo in the comics

What are Lobo’s powers?

I mean, the guy’s an alien, so he already has immense strength and fighting capability. 

As a bounty hunter, he’s ruthless. He’s always portrayed as incredibly strong, though the range of this has changed over time depending on which writer has taken him on. He also possesses great durability and has even gone head-to-head with Superman in the past. Accelerated healing, immortality, and impressive combat skills are all talents he shows off.

He’s also intensely violent and even ended up wiping out his entire species by unleashing a plague of scorpions on his planet, leaving him the last of his kind… Kind of hoisted by his own petard, there. Lobo is incredibly self-centered (yeah, we could have figured that!) and prioritizes pleasure. None of these are powers, technically, but they’re all important building blocks in understanding just exactly who this guy is, and what he stands for.

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Physically, Lobo’s been portrayed in a couple of different ways, though a few things remain consistent: he’s muscular, has long hair, and has a pale human-like face. In some instances, he appears with blue skin. If we had to describe his vibe, it would be along the lines of leather-clad punk rock biker chic.

If Lobo were to have one weakness, it would be his personal oath, which is: “The Main Man’s word is his bond,” meaning that he will never go back on an agreement. Oh, and he also has a strange love of space dolphins and has even had to murder for revenge after some have been killed. We’re not judging.

But the coolest thing about Lobo? Well, to us, this would be the fact that he got sent to Hell, but ended up being too much for the demons, so was sent to Heaven instead. Alas, they couldn’t handle him either, so he essentially got kicked out of both sides of the afterlife, and consequently became immortal. Now that’s punk rock.

Who is Lobo? Lobo's comic book appearance

Lobo’s on-screen appearances explained

Lobo had his first live-action adaptation in the 2019 TV series Krypton, and there was also a Guy Ritchie movie in development hell for several years.

Lobo has also appeared in the DC animated universe, starring in one of the best animated series of all time, Superman: The Animated Series. He then appeared in live-action during the second season of the aforementioned Krypton show. Allegedly, there was a Lobo spin-off in the works following his appearance, but this was scrapped after Krypton was canceled.

In September 2009, Warner Bros. announced that there was a feature-length Lobo film in development with Guy Ritchie at the helm. This would have seen Lobo as an anti-hero who drove a motorcycle and had him team up with a teenage girl from a small town as he tracks down four no-good fugitives who are causing chaos.

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Production was set to begin in 2010, but Ritchie ended up pursuing Sherlock Holmes 2 instead. After this, the project passed through several hands and didn’t come to fruition.

Honestly, we’re kind of bummed this didn’t pan out. Lobo’s story depicted in the style of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels sounds like it could have been something really unexpected, and might have even pushed the DC cinematic universe into a whole new direction. At least we can still dream. Speaking of which…

Who is Lobo? Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Is Jason Momoa playing Lobo?

According to reports, Jason Momoa is in talks with James Gunn to play Lobo in either a DCU project currently in development or in a standalone movie.

This can be backed up by a video posted to social media by Momoa back in January 2023, which showed the actor celebrating after a meeting with Warner Bros.

“Four years ago I was screaming, wasn’t I?” Momoa said. “Four years again. It’s a mystery, baby. I got some really good news, great news with Warner Bros. Wish I could tell you!”

If there’s anyone more stylistically suited to play the role of Lobo, we don’t know him. As a matter of fact, we think that Lobo may have been the DC role Momoa was born to play — a character he’s more suited to than Aquaman, in our opinion.

Who is Lobo? Jason Momoa as Aquaman

All this will come after Aquaman 2, which will signify the end of Momoa’s turn as the fish-loving superhero. Although the time may be here for a solo Lobo outing, we think it’s more likely he’ll end up appearing in another movie (probably Superman: Legacy) first to test modern audiences’ response to the character.

Here’s hoping that the reincarnation of Lobo is set to bring the character to life in the way he deserves. For more on the new movies set to come, check out our guide to the Bold and the Brave release date. We also have a feature on the five things we want to see from James Gunn’s DCU and the one we don’t.

You can also check out our list of the best movies of all time, and find out how to watch the DC movies in order!