Friday, July 2, 2010

The Hellboy Project: Lobster Johnson Vol. 1: The Iron Prometheus

Written by Mike Mignola
Art by Jason Armstrong

Lobster Johnson, the pulp hero character that has been haunting the Hellboy and BPRD series almost since their beginnings, was finally given his own book a few years ago. 

The Lobster has been a mysterious character throughout his time in the Mignola-verse, and this five-issue series does very little to shed any light on his background or motivations.  This story, set in 1937, has as it's 'big bad' the guy who has been haunting Liz Sherman's dreams in the BPRD trades I've been reading lately (which is why I'm glad I'm reading all of these in order).  This character, referred to here as the Devil, is looking to acquire the Vril Energy Suit - an Iron Man like device which harnesses Vril power, which is some sort of godly Hyperborean thing.

Lobster Johnson gets involved in helping out, and there are ghosts, Nazis, and big snakes (in other words, the usual Mignola stuff).  Little is done with the Lobster's character, although Jim Sacks, the man wearing the VES suit, does get developed quite well.  It is obvious that the Lobster is being kept as somewhat of a cipher on purpose, and hopefully this is something that will be explained as the larger story progresses.

Jason Armstrong was a wise choice of artist for this title.  His art looks a little like a marriage of Mignola and Davis's sensibilities, although with a much looser, relaxed approach.  This was a good book, and I really enjoyed the joke text-pieces included outlining the pop culture career of Lobster Johnson in comics, pulps, and movies.

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