REVIEW: Lobster Johnson: A Chain Forged in Life (One Shot)

Writer: Mike Mignola, John Arcudi
Artist: Troy Nixey, Kevin Nowlan
Colorist: Kevin Nowlan, Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Tonci Zonjic
Publication Date: July 29, 2015
Price: $3.50

I had never heard of Lobster Johnson before, which in of itself isn’t unusual. I mean there are a load of different books hitting the stands.

For those in a similar position to myself, quick recap. The Lobster was a gangbusting vigilante from the 1930’s. He was thought to be a fictional character, but the B.P.R.D have ran into his ghost, proving that at some time he must have been alive.

This one shot is set in the 30’s at Christmas time. There is a sense that the depression is in as we follow the journey of an embittered Santa Claus. This being a vigilante book, there is a crime, a victim, said vigilante and of course a hero. Written by long term collaborators Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, this book reeks of style and panache, even though the premise is a pretty simple with characters that tend to fall on the stereotypical side of the line. The language used “You have the gats” for example, go some way to create level of authenticity.

Art is supplied by Troy Nixey and Kevin Nowlan and between the pair, they manage to evoke a familiar feeling that seems to be present in most of the Mignola-verse books. Is that good or a bad thing? I have to admit, I would like to see more uniqueness in these books. Granted, having “house styles” isn’t a new thing and when it goes to create a universe that feels connected, I can see the benefit. Either way, the art is of a quality you would expect to find in a Mignola-verse book. Another constant, is the colouring by Dave Stewart, this time help by Kevin Nowlan. This then seems to be a book demonstrating a huge amount of teamwork, from the various pairings.

I do have a soft spot for this type of book. In places it reminds me of Sandman Mystery Theatre, in style if not in substance. As a one shot, the book does well to re-introduce that character to those that may have forgotten him or to those that haven’t read a Lobster Johnson book before. I hope that this serves as the start of more adventures.

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