Justice League of America Annual #1
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Josh Reed
Cover: Jones and Madsen
This time: If there’s anything a bounty hunter has, it usually isn’t going to be honor. But when Lobo gets word of someone butchering a pack of not only dolphins, but space dolphins, he goes to Black Canary for a team-up to go save his flippery friends’ hides. When Dinah is skeptical, he reminds her that with Batman gone, they’re essentially the only two adults on the team and Black Canary begrudgingly agrees to the team-up.
Lobo’s fascination with dolphins started as a mere child, being graced by the godlike appearance of one after another while being scolded from his arch-enemy at the time, Miss Tribb.
When Lobo and Dinah finally make their way throughout the complex tubes of their alien-planet destination, familiarity bites the main man on the nose; the man he was looking for is not only a Tribb, but Miss Tribb’s own boy. Gusano Tribb explains that this was all a revenge ploy for Lobo’s desecration of his family name. The main man calls an ancient Czarnian tradtion, calling Dinah as his champion to face off against the Tribb. Having a difficult enough time dealing with Gusano’s muscle mass and pure girth, Dinah eventually stops holding back with a mighty canary cry that rips the very flesh from his skull. As Lobo catches the cretin off guard, he frees the dolphins as he proceeds to literally tear the Tribb in half; his healing factor being enough to keep him alive ends up in the bellies of dolphins swimming through the galaxy. As Dinah and Lobo share a few mixed morals, the two make their way back off to Earth on Lobo’s bike, knowing that even a furious Czarnian can know honor when the right people—or dolphins—are involved.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read: This annual took us back to an unforgotten era of wide shoulders, 8-foot bat ears, and gloriously colored viscera that the main man fits into like a glove. Kelley Jones helps—almost literally—make this issue pop as we get a great little journey into what makes Lobo tick, as well as what makes Canary go along with the rest of this rag-tag group in the first place. Orlando has had a great time giving us little peeks and prods into Lobo’s psyche, and giving him something to fight for in only the brutal way that he knows best still nails him down as that bastiche we always know and love, all the while giving him more than just bloodlust as a motivation. Black Canary is a fantastic choice for a tag-along, giving just enough of an outsider’s horrified take to help tie everything together and see them both on some similar level. It’s a great little dive for an annual and a one-shot that’s certainly worth grabbing off the shelf.