Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster is finally over. I say that like it’s been a chore to read the series, and honestly, it hasn’t. Each issue reads quickly and propulsively. The art by Tonci Zonjic has always been fantastic. There’s a lot of this comic that should work, but at the end of the day, it just doesn’t. I can’t really do a recap of this issue, so I’m going to talk about what makes this arc/mini-series work/not work. Where it really fails is that its ambition is too much; it tries to follow so many stray threads with so few pages with which to work. One of the threads of this book runs all the way back to the last TPB of Lobster Johnson’s exploits, and it’s not anything that’s been foreshadowed in any way. It’s like the end of a Sherlock Holmes mystery where Sherlock manages to solve the case using the clues presented to the reader as well as EXTREMELY IMPORTANT LAST MINUTE CLUES that the reader isn’t privy to.
Part of the reason the detective narrative works is that the reader is given the opportunity to outguess the protagonist, who is always presented as the greatest detective in the world. Get the Lobster would probably be able to get over the hurdle of that test if that was all this comic was. In five issues, we’re following a vengeful mob boss, the Lobster himself versus radio-controlled wrestlers and police chiefs, a reporter trying to decide what’s the right thing to do for the Lobster and the city, and a policeman who wants to join the Department of Investigation. In a five issue comic, most of these storylines get addressed each issue, but they still end up feeling underdone.
These last five issues have been oddly paced, to say the least. There are some issues where the creative team fires on all cylinders, and they’re just really on, and then there are other issues where the whole thing feels slapped together with scotch tape. The edges don’t match up, things are left unresolved; the whole thing is a mess.
One of the plot points that comes back around in this issue is the floating German zeppelin from issue one. It’s not that it’s been four entire issues since it appeared that bothers me; it’s that it literally seemed like set dressing in the first page of issue one. Things can be put in the background that end up paying off later, but the whole thing still rings hollow. It’s not that big a deal on its own; it’s just one of those things that’s emblematic of a larger problem.
As a collected whole, some of these problems could be forgiven. It wouldn’t be the best comic you’d ever read, but it would be fun, and it would keep moving. Read as single issues, none of them have super-wowed me, and none of them have left me cold.
Plus, this issue has one of the most perfect last pages I’ve ever seen, ever. I’ll stand by that. It’s not a good reason to pick up the book, but just so you know: they somehow flubbed all the flips and tricks and stuck the ending.
Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi Artist: Tonci Zonjic Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital