Filed under: Comic Reviews, Dark Horse Comics | Tags: B.P.R.D., Dave Stewart, John Arcudi, Lobster Johnson, Mike Mignola, Wilfred Torres
Following the recent Lobster Johnson mini-series, The Burning Hand (issue #1 reviewed here), there was always a good chance I would pick up anything new featuring the character and sure enough, along came this one-shot.
With Mike Mignola and John Arcudi on writing duties we were sure of a high quality ride on this one and that’s what we get. Opening with that 1930’s pulp feel we are dropped centre-stage as the most exclusive club in town starts its latest show – with its Egyptian theme and Princess Nefaru as its lead character. The high-class clientele of mob bosses and henchmen are soon disturbed by an unexpected guest. The theft of a mummy from a local museum has him on the case and crashing the show seems to be his aim.A hail of gunfire between Lobster and the trigger-happy goons helps the action kick-off as we get to find out that “Princess Nefaru” is none-other than club owner, club performer, drug-dealer and all around dodgy character Wilma Kazan.
One other thing we find out quite quickly is that Wilma has a goon the size of a wall who heads straight for Lobster swinging a hefty hammer in his direction. There’s no real match here as one hammer blow to the head later we find Lobster chained to the wall while Wilma’s goon prepares a new blade for taking the next sacrifice in their Egyptian obsession. This is where we firmly land in B.P.R.D. territory and the Mignola/Arcudi team-up really takes hold – as the details of more than one theft of a mummy is admitted to and the real reason is explained to Lobster during his last few minutes of life – evil, Egyptian-obsessed, pharaoh-loving bad guys are funny that way.
Of course, Lobster devises an escape and after taking care of the goon and the princess aka mob-boss Wilma, he inadvertently releases the real mummy and a new enemy to face. This is where Lobster brings the one-shot to an abrupt end – taking care of the mummy the only way he knows how and leaving his obligatory “Claw” calling card. I’m afraid this is also the point that let me down and this can sometimes be the pitfall of any mini-series or one-shot – that rushed feeling to an ending. The thing is, the build-up to this, the action scenes as Lobster takes care of some crime-fighting and the details all have that advanced feeling of real work and effort going into them. To then end it the way it did seemed to bring with it a “That can’t be it!” response from me and I think this would’ve worked better as a 2-part story – giving much more scope to pace the story, maybe even show the theft of the mummy and at least give this a much more evenly paced and rounded feel to it.
That being said, the build-up is great and the art-work from Wilfred Torres is spot-on, as is the colouring from Dave Stewart (as we’d expect). With a strong writing team on-board and the classic pulp/B.P.R.D. vibe to it – this could have been a bigger case for Lobster Johnson but unfortunately it all ends a bit too suddenly for me. With that rich art and slick panel layout proving successful – it almost makes this a bigger disappointment that the issue wasn’t bigger or spread out into a mini-series. An opportunity missed for me from a story perspective but I still think the character has become a new favourite of mine.
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