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    Mignolaversity: “Lobster Johnson: The Glass Mantis” [Review]

    By | January 5th, 2016
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments
    Logo by Tim Daniel and Mark Tweedale

    Our last Mignolaverse story of 2015 is yet another tale of the Lobster, but this time features interior art from a new player in this world. Keep reading for our spoiler-free review.

    Written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
    Illustrated by Toni Fejzula

    Murder interrupts the opening of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. Lobster Johnson investigates to find out what makes a blown-glass sculpture worth killing for.

    Reviewing a Lobster Johnson story is a difficult task for a few reasons. While some of them have greater ties to the Mignolaverse, that isn’t really the point of a LoJo story. This is an exercise in pulp madness from the minds of Mignola, Arcudi, and their collaborator of choice. The Lobster himself is not the most deep character, with his dialogue far more about who he is talking to than what it is he has to say. Because of that, and because I’ve reviewed probably close to 15-20 LoJo stories, it is always difficult to find new things to say.

    This issue is a little bit different for a few reasons, however. For starters, Toni Fejzula is the artist on the book, and his style is quite different than Tonci Zonjic’s, who is the house LoJo artist at this point (and who does the cover here). I was a big fan of “Veil,” the Dark Horse book that he did with Greg Rucka in 2014, and his work here is just as stunning. Because he inks and colors his own work, this book has a totally different color palette than most Mignola books, due to the lack of Dave Stewart. I couldn’t quite figure out why the book felt so different, and then when I remembered that Fejzula does his own colors, it all clicked. That gave the issue a bit of an otherworldly feel, and was a nice change of pace for the book.

    Fejzula’s art feels very European-comics inspired, which is also a nice addition to the overall feel of the Lobster stories. The character is so rooted in American pulp stories that when a foreign element is introduced, it shakes up the book and gives opportunity to do new things. Imagine LoJo in Japan? Or in the jungles of South America? The Australian Outback? I’m getting excited, folks.

    The foreign influence also extends to the story itself, which centers around a Turkish glass blower and his exhibit in the United States. The story is far from straightforward, and to discuss it too much would lead into spoiler territory, but I will say this: this is one of the more supernatural LoJo stories we’ve seen in awhile. One of the nice things about the character is that he works well both in a straight crime story, or when fighting ghosts and monsters.

    This story goes full on supernatural and, with spirits and diamonds both being smuggled in via glass, and the Lobster and his crew respond exactly as you’d expect – with bullets flying and punches thrown. Again, there is nothing that breaks the bold here, but the mold is enjoyable enough that you can read the issue, enjoy the hell out of it, put it down, and not worry too much about it. While that may not be what I want from all of my comics, I’m happy to get that from this one.

    Final Verdict: 7.0 – A fun, if insubstantial, installment of LoJo pulp goodness.

    //TAGS | Mignolaversity

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).


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