Lobster Johnson: The Pirate’s Ghost (#1 – 3) – John Arcudi, Mike Mignola

3 out of 5

Post his stepping down from years of B.P.R.D. world building, it’s great to have Arcudi sticking around on Lobster Johnson, which has always been (by my opinion) one of the most fun external additions to the Hellboy universe, able to dabble in the mythology waters while never wading too deep, and thus able to maintain the sort of pulpy, standalone adventuring on which the Mignolaverse was initially built.

The Pirate’s Ghost is, hopefully, simply a wrapping up of plot points and not an indication that Arcudi is getting the Grand Plan bug again; it’s been the first LoJo tale I’ve read that doesnt feel like it could be satisfying without an understanding of what’s led the various players to this point.  Couching what boils down to a rescue mission in an old style Hollywood template is cute – the covers have a cast list; there’s a slightly meta level of artifice with a plot involving the classic Yar version of pirates and actors and movies – but the cuteness never quite flows like the better pulp-infused LoJo yarns; the story has to keep cutting away to deal with those leftover bits and bobs.

Artist Tonci Zonjic seems divided as well, going for a more simplified style that works for the fun stuff, but somewhat cheapens the in between stuff.  Adding that to the above mentioned pacing problems, and it’s not the most effective Lobster Johnson story arc.

However, there are enough pitch perfect character moments (particularly between Cindy and Harry) to keep us invested, and those moments that the Lobster himself swings into brutal action are thrilling.  But I hope, with some of these aspects resolved, we get back to the truly standalone stuff for the next mini.