He’s back! No, not Indiana Jones (those old enough to remember some movie promos from the ’80s will get that, maybe), Lobster Johnson, Mike Mignola & John Arcudi’s rough and tumble most certainly shoot first and maybe ask questions after seriously grey area protagonist/hero. For his last adventure Satan Smells A Rat I reviewed (which you can read here) the idea of what might make a “pulp” hero–this time, no such fanciness: Lobster demands it!
My own silliness aside, the great thing about a new Lobster Johnson story is you are going to get a story, sometimes a one shot, other times a multi-part (like A Scent of Lotus) that is so refreshingly straightforward in regards to this persona of Lobster Johnson. That persona is that great personification of a stereotype of a take-no-prisoners WWII era hero. Mignola and company have never revealed who Lobster is (and at this point I really don’t care; I think it is of such little importance unless it turns out to be some huge plot point in the entire Hellboy universe), and that is, to me at least, another appeal of the book. Imagine how different Batman would be if we never knew the Bruce Wayne side of things, if it was just this scary guy who stalks evil in the night with the hammer of justice (yes, I was a big fan of the colorful and lovely Batman: The Brave and the Bold). Actually Lobster Johnson is that unfiltered, unchecked, and unapologetic Batman–if you step into his circle, friend, he will most certainly deal with you.
As much as I love the mystery and fantastic ending (no spoilers), the artwork is nothing to dismiss. Handling the work this time around for Dave Stewart to color is Sebastian Fiumara. I had not seen his previous work in the Hellboy universe, but I was most impressed by two elements in A Scent of Lotus. First, I read this digitally and blew up the panels on my reader. Fiumara gives such nice textures to clothing, environment, and some skin types. This ability to really blow up images and maintain quality has been a plus for my reading certain comics digitally, and make no mistake: I love print, but when you see examples of quality work it makes you wonder about the possibilities, and there is some real quality panel interiors going on here. Second, the color and line work struck me in some scenes and panels as being reminiscent of snippets of Totleben/Bissette-era Swamp Thing, where shadow added extra menace in mood, tone, and some super all-time creepy facial gesticulations.
This week if you are up for a trip into the gloves off side of Mignola’s sometimes wonderful universe and want to read something that is just about having an adventure, then this is for you. If you are looking for something a bit more serious, fear not, the last B.P.R.D Vampire drops next week.
Jeffrey Hayes is a contributor to the Capeless Crusader website. He spends his time reading and writing on a variety of things for his own entertainment and every now and again pokes his head out to confirm that the world is indeed going on about daily business just fine without him. He still wants to see movies of his dreams. contact: email@example.com