Review: Lobster Johnson - The Burning Hand #1

Lobster Johnson is quite possibly my favorite character to come from “the pages of Hellboy.” There is just something cool and classic about his character, almost as if he were a cross between Batman (the one that used guns!) and The Phantom (he also uses guns!). If like me you were wondering where the follow-up to Who Is Jake Ellis was, well it looks like artist Tonci Zonjic was busy putting together this throwback pulp inspired book set in the universe of Hellboy. Our story opens with a couple walking home from a movie date. They’ve just watched the first Buster Keaton movie with sound, when they come across a police officer tied to a lamp-post and scalped. Before they can flee, ghostly painted Indians try to attack them. The couple corner themselves at the end of an alley and are about to face certain death when Lobster Johnson busts through a window and shoots the crap out of the ghost Indians. The next day the police are left with a pile of dead “ghost” Indians that are actually Italian mobsters. The only person that seems to have a clue as to what’s happening is Cindy Tynan from the Herald Tribune, which could land her in a mess of trouble.

16252Hey you know who’s a great writing team? Mike Mignola and John Arcudi! These two didn’t put out a stink all last year and they’re off to a great start with this mini as well. I think it’s some of the smartest story and business strategy to have a constant flow of mini-series in the Hellboyverse. What also makes this book stand out is the attention to the detail that it pays. Giving readers a historical reference with the Buster Keaton movie is a nice touch and shows that thought and research went into this timeline.

Since we already know so much about the writing team and their numerous talents, I figured I would just move on to the art. If you followed me at my pervious site, you’ll know that I really like Tonci Zonjic’s work on Who Is Jake Ellis, but with any creator though you wonder if you’ll enjoy their next work as much. Thankfully Zonjic has another impressive display. His style is a bit different for this series as it adapts to the type of story, but his overall style is still there and still good. With Jake Ellis he used a ton of thick lines and solid colors, but with Lobster his line work is much more refined and the coloring is more fitting of a classic pulp comic than anything else.

I know that I gush about the Hellboyverse a lot, but there is a reason that this franchise has lasted this long… it’s that damn good. What other franchise has lasted this long while existing as mini-series and one shots? I doubt you could come up with another title. If you like Hellboy, crime fighting, pulp or sassy reporters that actually talk like reporters than give this book a shot. If you don’t like things that are good then pull your head out of your ass and give this book a shot any ways. If anything you should check it out for the amazing last panel of the book.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi Artist: Tonci Zonjic Colorist: Dave Stewart Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 1/11/12