Review: Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus #1
Since his August 1999 debut appearance in Hellboy: Box Full of Evil #1, pulp vigilante Lobster Johnson has grown a cult following (which I am now a card-carrying member of). In this first book of a two-part mini series, Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus, Chinatown is rocked by a murder that even the area’s most vicious organization, the Tong, won’t take credit for. Johnson is on the heels of a deadly assassin, Crimson Lotus, introduced in B.P.R.D. The Dead, as is a persistent Detective and his chummy partner.
Although Lobster Johnson is the brain child of Mike Mignola, he handed over the bulk of the latest installment (as with prior series) to the equally capable John Arcudi. This isn’t a starting point for new readers though, so don’t expect any who’s and why’s, it is clearly a continuation of predecessor plotlines. After that quick realization, I poured through previous issues in search of a ‘backstory.’ Dedicated fans would find this laughable because, although written but not released, Mignola has made it clear the murkiness of Lobster Johnson‘s origins is what adds to his character (and I wholeheartedly agree).
Arcudi continues the tradition with a tight script and compelling storyline, all without having to show The Lobster blasting mobsters in every panel. Likewise, what begins with wintry snowfall and ends in brilliant flames, Sebastian Fiumara‘s illustrations are the perfect blend of sporadic violence and gangland mystery. Colorist Dave Stewart completes a near flawless pairing of story and art with the piercing orange goggles, a mesmerizing focal point in nearly every panel they appear.
The brevity of this series is a direct representation of Mignola’s desire to maintain the cult status without selling out to the masses. A monthly run would shatter the intrigue and inevitably churn out Lobster Johnson key chains and smart phone covers (which I would still buy, admittedly). Whether he takes back the reigns or leaves the story with Arcudi, the future of our crustaceous pulp hero is in good ha…er, claws.
Story: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi Art: Sebastian Fiumara
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review