I remember the first Lobster Johnson comic I picked up in the early 00’s; I thought it was going to be funny due to the ridiculous name, but it wasn’t. Instead I was treated to a series full of action and grimy pulp. It was in my face and awesome and it’s still that way to this day. In the first part of this story we discovered that Lobster was chasing after the wrong people, but he was soon faced with the real villain. She’s a woman with some fucked up looking monkeys with masks on. After setting fire to the brothel she basically commends him for getting this far and then sics the monkeys on him. One of the monkeys uses a gun to shoot Lobster in the forearm and then they attack him like monkey’s do… by going for the face! The big dude from the previous issue busts through a wall and grabs Lobster and they fall to the street. Lobster’s boys are quick to pull guns, but he stops them. The injured man asks them to take him to his boss and there we learn what Lobster is up against. Also we learn that the cash transfers are legit and going towards a worthy cause.
The thing about this series is that the story isn’t big. There’s no master villain that Lobster is working towards finding like the rest of the Mignolaverse tends do. There’s not even a villain that lasts more than a story arc. Lobster is justice and is looking to distribute justice until he’s no longer able to. His city is like Gotham in that no matter what he does, how scary he is… there will be evil to stop. That’s the charm of this series, you’re in and out. He finds a way to win because Justice always prevails. The trick to the writing is to make the reader think that he’s not going to win. That justice won’t be served, but then to find a way to make it happen against the odds. Eventually every criminal gets burned by the claw.
This is another series in the Mignolaverse written by Mignola and Arcudi, which is a great writing team. This series fits with the rest of the universe, but it still has a very different feel from the other titles. Lately there has been a resurgence of pulp titles and while their resurrection is successful they’re missing what this story has: grit and a true sense of the genre.
Sebastián Fiumara is a great fit for this series. After all his artwork is what gives the world it’s grittiness. It’s not just the grit though as the supernatural plays a large role in LJ’s world. Fiumara is tasked with drawing demonic looking monkeys in this issue and not only that but he must make them appear to be very fast as well. He does a great job with the subject matter and his line work gives the impression that monkey’s top speed isn’t natural. I used to be a fan of monkeys with guns; don’t get me wrong I like the idea but another publisher ruined it for me. Fiumara’s monkeys with guns, is awesome. It was the first time I rooted against Johnson just because I didn’t want the monkeys to die.
With this being the second part of the series you’re better off going back and grabbing the first issue, but don’t be afraid to jump on to the series. Sure I have a bit of a history with the series at this point, but I wouldn’t if I hadn’t taken that initial leap on the series I thought had a funny name. Boy am I glad that it didn’t turn out to be a comedy.
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Artist: Sebastián Fiumara
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 8/21/13