Now’s the Time to Get Into Lazor Wulf

Now’s the Time to Get Into Lazor Wulf

In the coming months, five more states in the U.S. will legalise marijuana (with five legalising recreational use). Additionally, if reports are to be believed, Henry Bonsu’s Lazor Wulf is slated to return to Adult Swim for its second season. These two things are wholly unrelated, but if you were a conspiracy theory-minded person like Lazor Wulf and his friends, you might be inclined to think otherwise.

The show takes place in the fictional town of Strongburg — once the citrus capital of the country and the site of a lemonade-related war that tore the city apart. Like all of its residents, Lazor Wulf’s (Vince Staples) relationship with reality’s equal parts chill and casual, meaning that it’s all too common for a talking wolf to find himself in the middle of absurd situations that make more sense the less you think about them. Compared to his do-nothing brother Canon (Big E) and his stoner-cum-small business owner sister Blazor (Quinta Brunson), Lazor’s clear-headed in ways that make it easier for him to deal with the everyday weirdness of living in Strongburg.

When Lazor’s favourite food joint, Esther’s, is suddenly destroyed in the series’ first episode, he resolves to throw himself a Future Death Party because he plans to starve himself to death if he can’t eat there. Lazor Wulf’s supposed allergy to non-Esther’s food is purely the product of his imagination, but the pseudo-hunger strike he puts on in response to the restaurant’s closing is an excellent example of how the wolf and his friends’ stubbornness, and refusal to accept the way things are, end up being invaluable strengths as well as character flaws depending on the exact situation.

God's assistant reading him some mail from the Streets. (Screenshot: Adult Swim/HBO Max)
God’s assistant reading him some mail from the Streets. (Screenshot: Adult Swim/HBO Max)

Henry Bonsu’s Lazor Wulf was (like a number of Adult Swim’s late-night, 15-minute-long series) easy to miss if you weren’t specifically going out of your way to tune in during the first season’s original run in 2019. Though the show’s sense of humour skews more towards the stoner-y end of the spectrum, no matter how meandering each episode’s plot initially seems to be, almost all of them eventually centre Lazor and his crew rallying against people in positions of relative authority. That includes Lazor’s absentee father, Demon Wulf, or Lazor Wolf’s take on God, a petty deity living in the heavens who has too much time on his hands.

When Lazor Wulf delves into Strongburg’s history in a reimagining of the Civil War that divides the city between the northern half — who drink sweet lemonade — and the southern half — who drink savoury lemonade made with bone broth — it’s Musket Wulf’s (Laser Wulf imagined as a Harriet Tubman analogue) tenacity to do away with the savoury that leads to peace being restored. At another point, when he goes on a crusade against a flat Earther cult leader to prove that the world is, in fact, round, the wolf’s steadfast belief in science is what ultimately leads to him discovering a truth about the universe that fundamentally changes his perception of reality for the better. But that very same sort of energy is what leads to Luna, the sentient moon, threatening to drown the Earth in response to Lazor and Canon Wulf incessantly catcalling her, despite Blazor warning them not to.

It’s in moments like these, or when Lazor unintentionally drives away his well-intentioned but annoying friend Stupid Horse (J.D. Witherspoon), that Lazor Wulf highlights that while bullish, aggro energy can be a force for good when aimed upwards at those in power, the same isn’t always true when you turn that energy toward your friends.

In being a show about nothing in particular, Lazor Wulf has the potential to get even weirder and more ambitious in its upcoming second season that’s meant to drop at some point later this December. Should Lazor Wulf follow in animation’s current trend of building out more expansive in-universe mythos, the series could become a wholly different sort of beast in the future. For now, however, it’s a perfectly low-key exercise in absurdity that’s worth giving a shot.