Review of Mike Mignola’s “Lobster Johnson: Prayer of Neferu”

Mignola, Mike, and John Arcudi, authors.  Art by Wilfredo Torres and Dave Stewart.  Lobster Johnson: The Prayer of Neferu.  Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, August 2012.  22pp.  $3.50.  Minor spoilers.

The work opens with a classic film noir atmosphere, full of murders and mummies in New York City.  This work will be a fun, if all too brief, favorite of both devotees of original pulp comics and the uses of Egyptian mythology in modern popular culture.  Intrigue amongst Egyptologists is hardly a new story trope, but the directness of the hero, Lobster Johnson, is refreshing.  One distinct difference between this work and its pulp era predecessors, to which it owes an obvious artistic debt, is Johnson’s willingness to use his gun to actually shoot people, particularly the man he accuses of contracting the theft and murder.  For those unfamiliar with the Lobster Johnson series, the sudden appearance of a giant with a bullet-proof blacksmith’s apron and giant hammer may be a bit of a surprise even if his limited mental abilities aren’t, but the story doesn’t take itself seriously and neither should the reader.  However, without the smith, there would be no ready explanation for the availability of a steel sword shaped like the bronze ones of the Hyksos in the Second Intermediate Period of Egyptian history.  As is usual in such stories, the hero escapes the villain’s clutches through sheer prowess, but only after hearing Neferu’s nefarious plan.  Also customary, the villains fall victim to a combination of their own poor planning and the hero’s tendency to be very, very lucky.  This is the sort of story my grandfather would have seen and enjoyed as a young man and it is still a fine tale today.

– Prof. J. Holder Bennett, Collin College