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Review Brew: Lobster Johnson Metal Monsters of Midtown #1

Written By: John Arcudi & Mike Mignola

Art By: Tonci Zonjic

Color Art By: Dave Stewart

This week, it’s pretty easy to gloss over majority of the books on the stands. That’s by no fault of those books though; it just so happens that DC changed the game this week. Also, something may or may not have happened in Captain America; it remains unclear. That said, it’s a shame, as there are numerous books that also came out this week of a very high quality. Here, I’ll be looking at one of those.

Whenever I get a Mignola book in my stack, it’s a treat. The Lobster Johnson books are a weird mix of pulp and horror/sci-fi that screams of the golden age of Hollywood and its immediate aftermath. This issue is no different. Lobster and his crew are investigating a series of  “heists” done by these giant robot creatures. It becomes clear to the crew, however, that there’s more to these than meets the eye. What makes these stories really special is the perspective the story is told. Like many other Mignola books, this book is more or less told in a third person perspective. While there are characters we can relate to, we are watching the action happen outside of their worldview. In a comic landscape dominated by first person caption boxes, the old school, movie like style is a welcome change. Also, the Lobster Johnson character continues to be unlike any other. He takes the discipline of Batman, mixed with a twinge of Punisher’s willingness to go to killing. It’s similar to the Spectre, as Lobster is more of a force rather than a character. This is cemented when you see him interact with the team, as he seems more or less robotic. On top of that, this world–which is already well established in previous Lobster Johnson series–is extremely rich. Even with the history, there’s enough that you can infer that you can pick up and of his series and feel caught up. It’s a very classic feel, like sitting down to one of your favorite black and white films on TCM. Even though the story felt a little sparse, as the plot didn’t really thicken until the last couple pages, it was an enjoyable journey start to finish.

As I’ve come to expect with Zonjic, the artwork was stellar here as well. He has a very clean and minimal style, with a very strong and uncluttered line. Zonjic owns this old school noir feel perfectly, and the weight and occasional self-perceived innocence rings through the character renderings. The designs of these robots are unlike anything I’ve seen. There have these light bulb-style heads, with this exposed wiring body that’s not overly cluttered. It’s a design that sticks with you.  I found myself drawing comparisons to Nick Barber’s work on Ringside. To clarify, this is what I want from that book. Even though it’s minimal, is smoother and has a high level of expression; giving the storytelling clarity. It’s also important to note that this is a great example of why Dave Stewart is as highly regarded as he is. I feel like whenever I review a book he works on that I rave about his work; but it’s always well deserved. What he does with unique colored highlighting here is coloring at its best. Not too detailed or sculpted, it tells the story and tone through the palette alone. Teamed with Zonjic’s line, it’s a killer product.

I urge you all to put down your outrage, at least until this Sunday night when something ridiculous happens on Game of Thrones and pick up this gem. Sit down with it in your favorite chair and be taken to this world.

4.5 Rampaging Robots out of 5

About Brett I (152 Articles)
Born in Philadelphia and currently residing in Portland OR, Brett has been reading and collecting comics in some capacity since 2008 and is now fully immersed. Also, Brett is an avid follower of Professional Wrestling since the crumbling of The Alliance. Philadelphia/Chicago Sports consumed here.
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