Posted by:
Ken Porter

Advanced Review: Lobster Johnson Vol. 4


Alt Beat

By Ken Porter

Lobster Johnson Vol. 4: Get the Lobster TPB (Advanced Look)


Written by: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi

Art by: Tonci Zonjic

Colors by: Dave Stewart

Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Release date: Dec. 10th 2014

Public enemy

Lobster Johnson is one of the most fun characters being published in comics today. Part of the expanded Hellboy universe, The Lobster is a pulp hero that stands alongside greats like The Shadow. But in this newest volume the crime fighter finds himself the target of the police and a terrible mind control plot. It’ll take all his strength and cunning to get out of this jam, and luckily we get to go along for the ride.

Whenever a new Lobster Johnson story comes out I get psyched. I love pulp characters and Lobster Johnson seems to embody all of the noir aspects from old serials and dime novels. This latest adventure mixes in a bit of body horror that we’ve seen in past installments and gives us a new chapter in the life of the world’s greatest mystery man.



Storytelling and artwork

Mike Mignola and John Arcudi make a great storytelling duo. Each adventure of The Lobster has been more fun than the last, and this volume really ups the tension with the main character being put in a negative light publicly for the first time. There are plenty of stories about masked avengers being hunted by the police and foiling madmen, but Lobster Johnson is the only book that can blend pulp sensibility, colors (thank you Dave Stewart), and atmosphere with well-developed characters.

Tonic Zonjic’s artwork isn’t slouching when it comes to storytelling. Zonjic is an excellent artist and blends setting, character, and expression so well within the story that I find myself going back to just look at pages. It’s the kind of art that feels like its got heart and warmth behind it, even when there’s blood and violence.

Why it’s a great alternative

One of the great things about Lobster Johnson is the time period. There’s something about masked heroes in a non-digital age that makes it a lot more fun and exciting. The characters can’t rely on technology, and often it’s technology that becomes the monster or force that the main character is struggling against. Taking Lobster Johnson out of the 1930s would make him less special. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his ghostly appearances in Hellboy and B.P.R.D. (spoiler alert), but I think he’s more fun set in the past.



Who would like Lobster Johnson - Get the Lobster?

Fans of Hellboy or B.P.R.D. are a no-brainer for this title. You don’t have to have read all of the appearances of The Lobster before this series in order to understand it, but I would recommend it just for the fun of exploring the character. If pulp novels or heroes like The Shadow appeal to you then The Lobster is the perfect winter reading for you.

You can pre-order the book here at the Dark Horse Comics website.

Ken Porter also writes comic books including "Ink Ribbon" from Visionary Comics. Ken was also the winner of last year's Top Cow Talent Search contest and was recently published in "Artifacts" #33.