DCAU #215: Misery in Space!

IN THIS ONE... Superman and Lobo team up to find a virus-killing crystal.

CREDITS: Written by David Michelinie; art by John Delaney and Mike Manley.

REVIEW: I've said previously how the DCAU's Lobo doesn't interest me remotely, so the prospect of a special devoted to a team-up between him and the Man of Steel didn't fill me with anticipation. But Michelinie's script has a lot going for it, and even the scenes where the Main Man works alone have some fun touches, like an alien world's president running for cover behind Lobo's back and finding none there. The dynamic between the two heroes is better than expected, with Superman agreeing to Lobo's terms and dooming himself if it means saving an entire star system, then manipulating him into helping at his own unexpected detriment. But using Lobo always comes with certain tonal problems, like his apparently killing of sentients in front of Superman. The DCAU doesn't really allow killing, and even the nominal villain of this piece, when shot, is said to survive, so I'm sure everyone's fine. But they don't LOOK fine, and terms like "dweebicide", though meant as humor, denote murder.

If Lobo leaves me a little cold, Superman does anything but. This is a very strong story for him, and not just because he triumphs in the end. The story's engine is a virus unleashed by terrorists, that Superman absorbs into himself harmlessly, only to become a Typhoid Mary. His sacrifice dooms him to never walk the Earth again lest he find a cure. His farewell to an unknowing Lois Lane is heartbreaking and sweet. His fight with the terrorists badass. His joy at returning to Earth palpable and infectious.

If there's a weakness here, it's in the art. It's not terrible, but Delaney has shown from his Adventures in the DCU work that he is overly fond of speed lines that tend to obscure the action he's trying to present. I often feel bored or confused when he kicks it into high gear, and this is true of this comic on at least two occasions.
IN THE MAINSTREAM COMICS: The title of the story is a pun on, and uses the same font as, Mystery in Space, the SF anthology book that brought us regular helpings of Adam Strange, among others, in the Silver Age.

REREADABILITY: Medium-High - A strongly plotted team-up nevertheless co-starring a character I don't care about, and featuring some uneven art.

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