Review: ‘Lobster Johnson: A Scent of Lotus’ #1

LobsterJohnson_ScentOfLotus1

Lobster Johnson’s newest adventure reminds me of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Mignola and Arcudi channel this wonderful sense of camp with Johnson that makes the book an absolute treat to read. The backdrop of Chinatowns, and familiar Chinese imagery add to this camp, and create the perfect setting for a new pulp mystery. Mind you, like any of Lobster’s adventures, a lot of time is spent setting up the conflict and hardly any engaging in it.

WRITTEN BY: Mike Mignola & John Arcudi
ART BY: Sebastian Fiumara
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
PRICE: $3.50
RELEASE: July 24, 2013

A Scent of Lotus is often engaging. Especially when Lobster is on the page. About a third of the issue is spent with Jake, a detective on the same case as Lobster. His story fails to excite. If only because it’s the same tried and true police procedural dialogue and mystery we’ve seen a thousand times.

The story of the antagonist is much more entertaining. There is a certain level of intrigue to what exactly is going on in these pages. It’s never quite clear what their agenda is exactly, and for that reason things don’t get stagnant like ol Jake’s story.

As for Lobster, he’s truly a joy. His panels pop with a certain intensity that is lacking in the other stories. He’s constantly on the move, and pushing the story forward. The page where he descends from a rooftop perch with a flurry of gunfire is reason enough to pick up this issue.

Fiumara’s Lobster is simply awesome. The attention spent on Lobster’s eyes is fantastic. The eyes are often a shining beacon on the page when no other light is present; Fiumara even has them stand out over a muzzle flash. No other feature of Lobster is more defining, and the art reminds us of this. Everything from page 18 to 21 is incredible. Culminating in a wonderful small moment where Lobster checks out a couple of slugs that have been caught by his bullet proof vest.

In fact it is small moments like that, that are the issue’s strongest. Arcudi’s and Mignola’s script is busy and jam packed. A lot of exposition needs to be communicated in a short period of time, and while it feels that Lobster is lost in the shuffle. The script slows down to show blood running down an alley, or a man sweeping the floor. These moments allow for the script to world build inside this pulp alternate reality. It works incredibly well to make the action at the end of the issue impactful and exciting.

Unlike most Lobster adventures, this one continues on next month. This is both a positive and negative. The book ends on a fantastic panel that will leave you wanting more, but feels so overstuffed with exposition and little to no resolution. A fun romp through Chinatown, but as it stands not a whole lot more. Let’s see if next month is a more fun.

2.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ