Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review - Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"Ladies and gentlemen, I know what I've been describing is hard to believe, but if you could see what I'm seeing here tonight..."

When giant robots attack your city do you have a plan of action? Hope the army rolls in to save the day? Count on your super-intelligent sibling can come up with a solution? Or just rely on a hero like Lobster Johnson to save the day? The latter is what those in Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 from Dark Horse Comics do. The issue is written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, illustrated by Tonci Zonjic, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Clem Robins.

A trio of skyscraping robots crash into a Manhattan bank and leave Lobster Johnson with two mysteries to solve: what is behind the massive machines, and why would the robots pull a heist without taking a penny?

The script in Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 immediately sets the tone for what ends up being a pretty frenetic first issue. Mignola and Arcudi demonstrate why they're such a potent duo when it comes to writing stories in general and the story in Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 is very tight. The concept of giant robots attacking a major metropolitan city is certainly nothing new, but Mignola and Arcudi make it feel fresh by blending in the tone of Lobster Johnson. There's an interesting sub-plot moving as well that seeks to answer the question through the guise of journalisms doing their job and it's an effective way to reveal things to the reader without giving too much away at once. The dialogue also contributes to this sense as well, providing pretty snappy exchanges amongst one another.

The artistic approach by Zonjic in Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 is very stylized. Characters are defined by clean lines that cut against the minimalist landscapes that evoke an art deco sensibility. Zonjic also works to ensure that the giant robots feel menacing through a blend of pretty rigid looking body structures and a somewhat flexible moveset that reminds the reader that Lobster Johnson has his hands full. The panels set amidst empty gutters that further emphasize the burgeoning battle between sides, giving the book a very clean appearance. Stewart's colors are pretty bright considering most of them render the city at night and give the book a quality finish.

While many #1 issues take their time setting things up for the reader, Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 gets right into it. Lobster Johnson is very ready to fight against anything that threatens him or his city, but three giant robots might be a breaking point for him. The script by Mignola and Arcudi is straightforward and engaging, moving the plot along briskly while also giving the reader enough information. Zonjic's artwork is a great match for the script and gives the book plenty of nostalgia. Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 hits all the right notes in blending a nostalgic sensibility with a character who could easily fit in with the superheroes of today.

Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #1 is in stores now.

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