Review – Hellboy vs Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death
Written by Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson
Art by Mike Norton & Paul Grist
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Released in May, 2019
Hellboy vs Lobster Johnson: The Ring of Death is written by Mike Mignola. Hellboy and fellow B.P.R.D. agent Victor Koestler decide to kick back from their usual paranormal investigations to watch some late-night TV on the couch. What should air but Hellboy himself facing off against Mexico’s Lobster Johnson in an old-fashioned superhero flick. Despite sharing a screen with a supposed idol, Hellboy has mixed feelings and is reluctant to watch it for some reason…
The black and white film’s presentation is undoubtedly paying homage to the late great Luchador El Santo and his films of the 60s and 70s. Mike Norton’s tweener artwork is a fitting accompaniment to Mignola’s fun but gritty story, creating an overall blissful package.
Hellboy, a literal spawn from Hell, dressed up in a Problem Child-like Devil costume is both hilarious and truly wholesome. As if the boyhood dream of engaging his idol has come true.
While not deep in its number of pages, the lore of the comic is actually a major part of the Mignolaverse with some kayfabe elements surrounding it. The Ring of Death is but one of many faux Lobster Johnson films with a Mexican actor portraying the titular character. Guillermo del Toro himself was rumoured to direct a remake of this film…in the Mignolaverse, as in a fictional del Toro! It’s a headache inducing character to research but a welcome one to be sure.
The Ring of Death is revealed in the post credit-like comic, Down Mexico Way, to be a drunken Hellboy escapade during his time in Mexico which explains his reluctance to relive the events. The beauty and real story is in the minor details.
Dialogue is over the top and hoaky just as it should be for this storyline, Scorsese couldn’t have written better dialogue than this.
In conclusion, this is a neat little tongue in cheek comic to own, its only reason for existing seems to be to pay homage to the luchador El Santo. More so, it just has fun with beloved characters. Who wouldn’t wanna chill with Hellboy while watching some TV? Presented as a joke that everyone is in on, it’s simply harmless and inclusive collectable.
While I enjoyed the comic, I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it. It’s best as a Free Comic Book Day offering to diehard fans of Hellboy and Mike Mignola.
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