Lobo / The Mask (#1 – 2) – John Arcudi, Alan Grant

This is a crossover that – though insane – makes sense.  Two over-the-top characters, and writers generally associated with them, brought together for a suitably dumb but “logical” reason, and then unleashed for all the bloody mayhem you could expect, and likely more; a Looney Tunes-level cavalcade of ridiculous slaughter, now including copious gore.  Two issues of this (two oversized issues) goes a loooong way, which means some gags don’t land because they’re drawn out too long, and then there are spots of genius – a 4th wall breaking intermission; a goofy looping ending – that would’ve hit harder had they been part of a more tight narrative.

But, still, you’re here for anarchy, and Arcudi, Grant – and god, let us not forget artist Doug Mahnke, colorist Francesco Ponzi, and letterer Ken Lopez, splattering all of this upon the page with maximum gusto – deliver.  When Lobo is hired to stop some interstellar threat, and tracks that down to The Mask’s new wielder, a small-time thug named Ira, a first issue explosion of Lobo and Mask chopping each other to pieces ensues.  The Mask then has a lightbulb idea for how to expand this out for 48 more pages: convince Lobo that the real threat is the guy who wore the mask before him, and so they team up for a planet-hopping hunt.  Man, but I bet you wanted to see Lobo wearing the mask, right?  Yeah, fear not.

The non-stop nature of the scenario and full staff of big and unruly characters sometimes gets the best of Mahnke in terms of visual clarity, but most of the time he’s got the pacing down, with a good understanding of “funny” violence, even when gibs are flying all over the place.  And Arcudi and Grant offer a couple zingers, but otherwise keep things chugging along.  Pointlessly, perhaps, but entertainingly as well.

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