Friday, May 25, 2012

Mezco's The Ghost of Lobster Johnson

This is going to be a real picture intensive review because...well, you'll see. Lobster Johnson was a pulp hero of the late 1930's similar to The Phantom or Green Hornet, but through Mike Mignola's view. The Lobster had several adventures fighting Nazis and even future B.P.R.D. villain Memnan Saa before accepting employment from the U.S. government during World War II and undertaking what would be his last mission.

 In an attempt to prevent a Nazi rocket launch, The Lobster lead a group of United States soldiers on an attack of Hunte Castle located in Austria on the night of March 20th, 1939. Though they prevented the launch doors from opening, the rocket ignited anyways and slammed into the ceiling in a fireball. The resulting fire killed all but a single German soldier and recurring villain Herman Von Klempt, a deranged Nazi scientist who would go on to be a head in a jar. Decades later, after they discover Von Klempt in the ruins of Hunte attempting to finish what he started so many years ago, Lobster Johnson mysteriously appears to aid Hellboy and the homunculus Roger when the doctor's thugs and cyborg gorillas get the upper hand. Not to spoil it for you, but he pulls a Sixth Sense on them by the end of the story, bringing us round to today's review.

The Ghost of Lobster Johnson by Mezco Toys! There is nothing that I do not love about this figure, it is quite possibly my most favorite thing ever. But seeing as a review should be a little more than one paragraph of fawning praise and twenty pictures, let's talk history.

Released in 2005, this figure was originally available to the mass market in normal, comic inspired colors with an additional "radioactive brain" accessory as part of Mezco's seven inch Hellboy line. For the 2005 San Diego Comicon, Mezco gave fans an exclusive version of The Lobster cast entirely in translucent purple plastic and limited to just 2,000 pieces.

The box is heavy weight cardboard with a portrait of The Lobster drawn by Mignola on one side and a very large version of Johnson's claw symbol as well as notation of the limited number on the other. It looks a little dinged up because I purchased it second hand, but no matter.

Inside the box, the figure is nestled in a two-layered plastic tray and is held in place with three really heavy gauge, actual-metal-wires-under-the-plastic, twist ties. Which makes me feel old after recently untwisting a million of those new biodegradable rope twist ties everything comes packaged in now.

Removing the card that wraps around the back and sides of the plastic insert reveals a sweet Mignola drawing of Lobster Johnson killing electrified Nazi zombies! It makes sense if you've read the comic.

Out of the package, Johnson is exactly what I've come to expect from Mezco's Hellboy figures, amazing. The sculpt perfectly captures the essence of Mignola's style and replicates Johnson's quasi-military uniform to the smallest detail. Cast in a translucent purple plastic that really makes me want Grape Kool-Aid, the only other paint applications present are a little orange on the lenses of his goggles and on the tiny claw symbol on his left palm.

Johnson fits right in with other figures in the line, shown here with Mezco's versions of Johann and Roger. I'm deliberately not going into a lot of detail on articulation and sculpt yet because frankly, normal light doesn't do The Lobster's Ghost justice...

Now we're talking! This figure is made for black light, I have never seen a plastic react more vibrantly! Under a black light, Johnson's Kool-Aid purple turns an amazing electric blue that really is out of this world.

Interestingly enough, it's actually easier to make out detail on Lobster Johnson when he's glowing than under normal light. Here for example, you can see the clear borders of the lobster brand on his palm, as well as the pouches, grenades and belt buckle at his waist and the large lobster claw etched into his chest.

The back of the figure is equally as detailed, with more pouches, a large canister (a thermos of cocoa perhaps?) and a length of rope attached to The Lobster's belt. And would you look at the flares in those pants...

The Lobster's only accessory in this release is his pistol, as a ghostly brain on a spring would have been a bit silly and skipping it lowers costs. The pistol fits into the right hand, his index finger slipping into the trigger guard for a snug grip. When not in use, it can be stored in the holster at his hip. The holster is made of a soft, rubbery plastic so the top flap folds up to slip the pistol in with no issue.

Articulation is pretty good, with ball joints at the neck, shoulders, mid-torso, hips and wrists. The wrists are interesting as they appear to be incorrectly assembled at first with a gap between the wrist and glove, but this is to allow the ball joints a better range of movement. The result is that Johnson has really thin wrists, but that does mesh with the art style and is actually a feature visible in the art on the insert of the packaging. Other joints consist of hinged elbows, knees and ankles and swivels on the upper arms, thighs and waist.

"Taste the harsh justice of The Lobster's Claw!"

I turned on my black light intending to just take a couple of pictures of this guy because I knew that it would have an effect on him. But I didn't know how much of an effect! No words...they should have sent...a poet...  *ahem* Anyways, I can't stress enough how awesome this figure is. If you are at all a fan of Hellboy or the B.P.R.D. (and why wouldn't you be?), Mezco, or trippy things to put under your black light, The Ghost of Lobster Johnson is for you. Oddly enough, despite the limited number of pieces out there, The Lobster does not command a whole lot of money on the secondary market. I purchased mine for about seventeen dollars and there were quite a few still available as of me poking around today for a decent price. But you never know how the secondary market will go, so if you want ol' Ghost Lobster here, I suggest grabbing one today before you're sorry tomorrow.

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