Review: Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged In Life

LobsterComing from the pages of Hellboy, Lobster Johnson returns to save Santa Claus!

On a snowy Christmas Eve Santa was taken hostage after witnessing a hostile robbery and a man’s death. Hidden away in a mountain cabin, will the Lobster be able to find Santa and save Christmas?

While it may seem somewhat strange for Dark Horse to publish a story set around the Christmas period in the middle of July, and despite the solicitations heavily mentioning Santa Claus, this story could take place on any night during the winter. What we do get is some solid artwork by the entire team, colourists Kevin Nowlan and Dave Stewart and artists Troy Nixey and Kevin Nowlan alike. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi give us a classic heist crime story that would fit just as nicely on the newsstand racks in the twenties and thirties along side the other pulp magazines of the time as it does on a modern comic shop shelf.

Lobster Johnson is a vigilante that operated during the thirties, who wold utilize a pair of pistols and often used technology ahead of his time to fight gangland crime and more super natural threats. Earning a reputation for violence, the Lobster would often burn his claw motif into his victims.

Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged In Life is a standalone one shot comic that requires no foreknowledge of either the Lobster or the comic he span out of Hellboy in order to be able to enjoy the story, so don’t let the rich history of those comics scare you away from Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged In Life. This is a tale that is told from the perspective of Santa Claus, and casts the criminals that have him hostage into an almost horror story like setting as they try to avoid the wrath of the Lobster.

I really enjoyed this comic, and while I have no previous exposure to Lobster Johnson, I found that Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged In Life is a comic book that doesn’t bog you down in previous story history, or deep character knowledge. Instead, this is a comic about a vigilante tracking criminals told largely from the criminals’ perspective. This is an interesting take on the classic story, and while it isn’t an entirely original concept, it is done very well here.

Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged In Life is a good story that’s well worth looking into.

Story: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi Art: Troy Nixey, Kevin Nowlan Colorists: Kevin Nowlan, Dave Stewart
Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review

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