Last month I said that I was definitely going to be back for issue 2 of Get the Lobster, and that it would be an uphill climb. I was right on one count and wrong on the other; I’m back for issue 2, and it was such an easy ride the whole time, I can’t wait for issue 3. This issue does a lot of moving the Lobster’s story forward by delving into his past, or rather, what seems like several possible scenarios that could be his past. Each scenario is more convoluted than the last, and somehow that makes them feel like real legends. Maybe the Lobster is actually an immortal force, someone who has shown up in different guises through the years. Hell, I read The Return of Bruce Wayne. I’ll believe anything.
This book felt a lot to me like the beginning of a big second act for the Lobster. To paraphrase from The Dark Knight, this book marks the point when the Lobster has lived long enough to see himself become the villain. It’s an interesting reversal in a book like this. The world Lobster Johnson inhabits is a weirdly heightened world with a very black and white sensibility. It’s a necessary consequence any time you bring Nazis into a story nowadays, since they’re pretty much the one class of villain that you just don’t make into an antihero. It’s just not done. And here, we’re presented with our hero becoming very much the public menace. Arcudi and Mignola have done their legwork to set this up, and I get the feeling it’s going to pay off in a big way.
Part of what makes me love Tonci Zonjic’s art on this particular miniseries is that it hearkens back to the other pulpy stories of heroes we’ve seen in the business. The muted color palette reminds me of Batman Year One and the clean linework reminds me of Tim Sale’s work with Jeph Loeb on Daredevil: Yellow, in particular. It also has this feeling of Art Deco to it, where all the angles are precise and intentional and there’re no unnecessary curves. It’s very deliberate, and it jibes well with the mood of the book. It’s a book where things happen for a reason, where Justice always wins out over evil, where the good guys wear dark colors but goddammit, the bad guys wear black.
The more I see the actual character of the Lobster, the less I’m convinced that I do actually like him. I like him a lot as a supporter in Hellboy’s books, but in his own books, he still feels like he’s being sidelined in favor of other characters. And honestly? I don’t have a problem with that. He’s such a stark, yes-or-no character that it’s more fun to plumb his cast, like Cindy Tynan, for their moral grey areas. It’s like a book about Batman, where all the actual action happens between Damian and Cassandra Cain. (I apologize for all the Batman references, but if they weren’t so apt, I wouldn’t be making them).
There are a few things about this miniseries that I’m still shaky on. I still have zero idea what the Nazi dirigible is about. I feel like it might be connected to the reveal at the end of the issue, but the reveal was a character that I didn’t recognize, so it didn’t quite land with me. I’m still not sure how the Bear and the Devil fit into the game. I’m quietly hoping it’s presaging WWII with the Devil being Hitler and the Bear being Stalin, but I... very much doubt that’s the case. Although, there is a bad guy who is obsessed with miniature towns, and I think he would like that symbolism. But now I’m just into rank speculation, and I won’t subject you to more of it.
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi Artist: Tonci Zonjic Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/5/14