COMIC REVIEW: Lobster Johnson – Get the Lobster!

Radio-controlled wrestlers rev up the two-fisted pulp action in this Hellboy spin-off series.

A Manhattan wrestling match goes terribly wrong when the ref is killed in front of a live audience by two crazed—and seemingly bulletproof—wrestlers. Lobster Johnson’s attempt to subdue the mad duo ends with him becoming public enemy number one! Will the Lobster be able to clear his name with the full power of the city’s cops after him?

In this fourth mini-series Lobster finds himself caught between the police force and the mob whilst being investigated by intrepid reported Cindy Tynan. Her exposés, along with Lobster’s hard-boiled attitude to the application of justice, soon have the police declaring open war on LJ. There are some nice echoes of Batman Year One as lobster faces off against the boys in blue, finding himself trapped in a building surrounded by police. His escape plan puts Batman to shame!

I’ve not read Lobster Johnson in a while and I think it could have done a better job of reintroducing the supporting cast, a simple “previously in LJ” page would have been useful. For me this becomes more important in a series of mini-series than an ongoing comic as readers are more likely to dip in and out.

As (bad) luck would have it mobsters, the Cossaro brothers, also kick into effect a rather convoluted plan to rob a series of banks in NY at the same time. A sub-plot seeks to introduce an element of legacy to the Lobster character which is intriguing but we’ll have to wait for a later volume to see how it pans out as it isn’t really explored here.

On paper this book has it all…car chases, Nazis, gorillas, mobsters , zeppelins. It just doesn’t add up, the character of Lobster Johnson doesn’t grow and we don’t learn any more about him. I like an enigmatic lead but they need to be surrounded by an interesting supporting cast, which I don’t think this book has. One of the things that really sings through in Mignola’s other work is his sense of character, which is lacking here. And whilst the plots are certainly pulpy they feel extremely stretched out, it’s not often I read five issues of a series and find so little to say about it.

Some of the art design is exquisite, in fact I’m fairly sure that a radio-controlled Gorilla appeared solely to provide the opportunity for a King Kong style rampage through a model of New York…and who could fault that? Everything appears to be perfectly on-model for the 1930s, where retro-tech is added the designs really fit for the era. Whilst not actually monotone the colouring of the book has a feel (if not the look) of sepia, like the whole world is bathed in light from a sodium street lamp.

Title: Lobster Johnson – Get the Lobster!

Publisher: Dark Horse

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Dave W

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