Lobster Johnson
Comic Hellboy Series 1

We've got a new guest reviewer tonight, but he's not new to reviews.  It's BigGuido!  He's got a series of reviews on the Hellboy series 1 comic line, and we'll start with old Lobster Johnson tonight.  What's the scoop, BG?

Guido is here for Round 1 of my review of Mezco's Hellboy Comic Book styled line of action figures. On the block is a fan favorite, Lobster Johnson! I was really amazed that the Lobster made it into series 1 of this line. I figured we’d get HB’s faithful, fishy friend, Abe Sapien, but the Lobster made the cut instead! 

I’m a pulp fiction nut from way back, having grown up reading the paperback reprints of The Shadow and Doc Savage adventures. As such, the Lobster struck a resonant cord with me from the get-go. He quickly became one of those "They gotta make an action figure of this guy!" characters. Apparently, Mez and I were simpatico on this.. I am very pleased that we have finally got a Lobster Johnson in fully articulated plastic! Now if Mez would just make figures of the Shadow, Doc Savage and The Rocketeer, I would die a happy Guido.

Packaging - ****
I love clamshell packaging and I especially love it when it comes with a sturdy cardboard insert with Mike Mignola art smattered all over it! Mez did a beautiful thing when he decided to opt for the same style of packaging for the comic line as he did for the Hellboy movie line. Makes me all misty-eyed, it does!

Sculpting - ****
As with the previously reviewed Hellboy figure, the sculpting of the J-Man is par excellence. This is the crusty, beat-to-heck version of the Lobster from Mignola's “Conqueror Worm” graphic novel, not the pristine, starched Jodhpur pants wearing Lobster we see in his original comic book appearance, “The Killer Inside My Skull.” This Lobster has seen more than his fair share of action and has been moldering on top of an Austrian mountain for the last six decades. Dave Cortes and the folks at INU Art once again did a tremendous job of bringing Mignola's two-dimensional art to three-dimensional life. All of the Mignola nuances are there and then some. I especially love the dimensional Lobster claw logos on his chest and left hand - really great work all around.

The sculpt on the Killer Brain accessory and Lobster’s Colt .45 automatic is excellent and on model as well. My only nit to pick is that I wish that the Brain’s spinal cord was a tad smoother, looked more “spinal cordish” and not so chunky.

Paint - ****
Yet another limited paint scheme, but as it was with Hellboy, what paint is there is very well done. No paint color edge bleeds or spatters to be seen. The dry brushing isn’t over done and just gives the figure a nice scruffy look. I especially like the treatment of the metallic buttons on the Lobster’s jacket; they look like real metal studs.

Articulation - ***
21 points by my count and they are as follows:
Neck: ball joint = 1
Shoulders: ML style ball joint = 4
Biceps: swivel = 2
Elbows: Single pin = 2
Wrist: ball joint = 2
Chest: ball joint = 1
Waist: cut swivel = 1
Hips: Marvel Superhero Showdown style ball-in-socket = 2
Thighs: swivel = 2
Knees: single pin = 2
Ankles: single pin = 2

I know I’m sounding repetitive, but I REALLY wish we had gotten double hinge joints on the elbows and knees. We did get ankle joints on the Lobster though, and that opens up a much wider range of posing opportunities. I didn’t touch on this in my Hellboy review, but I’ll mention it here. These figures should have had boot top swivel cut joints. I’m going to add them to mine once I find some spare time to spend in my action figure chop shop.

Speaking of the chop shop, some of the Lobster’s ball-in-socket joints have a really limited range of motion. This is especially true of his neck joint. The stiff material of his jacket collar really renders the ball joint almost useless, while chest is pretty stiff as well. The only other gripe I have is that my Lobster’s left hip socket joint was really loose. So loose in fact that his leg kept falling off every time I moved it. I eventually had to plug and re-drill the socket in order to get it to stay on. This may just be a quality control issue and not true of all figures. There was some thin plastic flash like material that had been wrapped around the hip joint ball when I first removed the Lobster from his package. Looks to me like Ol’ Chang tried to slip one past Mez's Q&A inspectors.

Defects aside, the limited joint articulation issues cause the Lobster to loose a star so far as articulation is concerned.

Accessories - ***
The Lobster comes with his trusty Colt .45 Automatic and the Killer Brain from his first adventure “The Killer Inside My Skull”. I really like the Killer Brain accessory and it has a bendy spinal cord to boot! My only complaint is that the cord is made of a really rigid material and isn’t all that flexible. It took a lot of effort to get the cord to conform to the Lobster’s neck for the photo shoot. It kept on expanding back out and falling off of Mr. Johnson’s noggin every time I went to shoot the photo! Still, I like the fact Mez was thoughtful enough to include this bugger. I wish they had included the Lobster’s utility backpack as an accessory, though. He is seen wearing it in “The Killer Inside My Skull,” but I’m not sure if it showed up in “Conquer Worm.” Either way, I’m knocking a star off for the less than bendy spinal cord.

Fun Factor - ***
I can't think of a single moment in my life when I wouldn't have considered a masked avenger of justice action figure fun, though my wife could probably think of a few – but I'm NOT asking her! Mr. Johnson is posable, comes with his trusty sidearm (which fits quite snuggly into its holster I might add) and a Killer Brain... what more could a four or forty+ year-old kid ask for? Easy, MORE articulation!!! Lobster J is a fun figure, but he would have been even more fun with a few extra well place articulation points, his signature back pack and a more bendy spinal cord attached to his Brainy adversary. Oops! There goes another star into the dumpster.

Value - ***1/2
I was really hoping that Mez was going to be able to maintain the $10.00 and below price point we saw with the Hellboy movie line of figures. I had a touch of sticker shock when I saw these were priced at $14.99 at my local Suncoast – which incidentally is quickly becoming the last bastion for action figures aimed at the collector's market in the Kansas City area. Still, we are getting a pretty cool, well made figure for that 15 semolians. All I have to do is place the Lobster next to any of DC Direct's $15.00+ figures to make me ALMOST give this baby five stars. If this figure had been a buck or two cheaper, I would have given it the elusive five star treatment. 

Things to Watch Out For:
The aforementioned quality issues with the Lobster's left hip socket. Outside of that, he's gold!

Overall - ***1/2
Lobster J. is one honkin' great figure and I am just tickled to finally have him in my burly, yet well manicured, mitts. However, there is room for improvement on the part of the figure's articulation which in a couple of key areas, suffered from limited movement issues. On top of that, I had to perform some extensive hip joint replacement surgery to get my Lobster up to spec. I would normally be harder on a figure with the latter shortcoming, but I think in this case it may have been just a Q&A oversight with Ol' Mr. Chang of the slice and dice department doing a superior job of covering his flash trimming screw-ups.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
You can find these at specialty stores like Media Play or Suncoast, or at online stores such as:

- Killer Toys has him (along with others from the series) for $11.

- CornerStoreComics has him for $11, or the full set (including the big monkey!) for just $55.

- Amazing Toyz has him for $13.

- OMGToys has him for $14.

- YouBUyNow has him for $14 as well.

- Yikes Comics has thim for $15.


Figure from the collection of BigGuido.

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