As a reviewer I do feel that it is my obligation to tell you, the reader, that I have never read a Hellboy or B.P.R.D. related book, before. I’ll take a moment to allow for the clamoring to subside. Please hold. Alright. Now that that ugly piece of business is over, I would like to say that your remarks were uncalled for, but let us continue.
First it must be said that even though “Lobster Johnson: GTL #1” is not a true number one, I as a new reader have to treat it as a jumping-on point and I have made all of my observations and critiques based on that and that alone. I have only only seen Hellboy in live-action film form. I didn’t even know who Lobster Johnson was. If you are like me, let me try to sum up what I know so far: we are in the 1930s. Lobster Johnson is a vigilante hero. He carries guns and wears a really great looking 1930s outfit with goggles and does not mess around.
From the first few pages, the atmosphere of the time is captured well. The Anlage Zeppelin is hovering over New York City and everyone is headed to Madison Square Garden in their best suit and bowtie to catch a wrestling match. Also, there’s a masked vigilante called The Lobster on the streets making headlines. Can’t you just hear old-timey music? It is at this point that things go immediately off the rails. Pandemonium ensues as our villainous wrestlers make their presence known. People run for their lives as a man is nabbed in the fray and then things go dark. We jump from a raucous stadium to the quiet confines of a palatial mansion where a rich man and his notably tiny associate scheme on silencing a journalist. Not exactly sure what the last part is all about, just yet, but the action sure is great. What makes this portion of the book work so well is the face work and action sequences of artist Tonci Zonjic. He does an amazing job with capturing motion all throughout this issue and it elevates the book to another level of fun.
Once that all settles down, we the readers finally get to meet Mr. Johnson, Lobster extraordinaire. But not before we meet a few of his assistants. It is not made explicitly clear who either of these gentlemen are or what their roles are. From the look of things, one does the grunt work and the other the book-smarts stuff. When we finally do set eyes on LJ, he goes from monitoring the radio waves to confronting our spandex rocking wrestlers in less than four panels.
What we now have is one huge fight sequence until the end of the book, and I must admit it is fantastic. The criminals, while exceptionally goofy, work really well on the page and make for an interesting sight. The violence, while brutal, is not too graphic. It carries a very cartoonish feeling, even when dealing with Tommy guns, grenades, and death. After that we are really just left with a lot of questions. Who were those men at the mansion? Where did the wrestlers come from? Are they our bad guys, or, were they dispatched by someone else?
As a new reader, I cannot say that this book does a good job about telling you who any one character is or what their part in all of this is. But what it does excel at is fast-paced action that moves with a stunning fluidity. I do not know where Lobster Johnson fits in with the overall umbrella of the B.P.R.D. universe. However, I do know that when it comes to dealing with criminals, Lobster Johnson is a hero that doesn’t hesitate to get his hands dirty to protect his city.
For the fun, blockbuster art and the break-neck speed at which this book moves, I am sold. What takes away from that is the sense that as a new reader, I was not given a whole lot to go on. Either way, it created an interest in me and I will continue to keep my eye on it.
When it is all said and done, this is a 7.5 out of 10.
Mike Sains is a Staff Writer at Capeless Crusader. When he isn’t writing, he’s podcasting at various places online. When he isn’t podcasting, he’s collecting comic books, FunkoPop! figures, and vinyl records. You can hear him on Geek Girls, Nerd Boys, The Tower of Sour, and The Inverse Delirium, all available on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @MikeSains.