Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: John Arcudi
Artist: Mindy Lee
Colourist: Michelle Madsen
Release Date: 21st November 2018
Crimson Lotus is the latest addition to the mighty powerhouse that is The Mignolaverse. Following hard on the heels of recent titles such as Koshchei The Deathless, Rasputin: The Voice Of The Dragon and a host of Hellboy/B.P.R.D. Characters getting their own books, Crimson Lotus brings us the story of Ben Daimio’s mother before she became the greatest adversary of Lobster Johnson.
Hellboy, B.P.R.D. and the many and varied denizens of Mike Mignola’s rapidly-expanding Mignolaverse have been firm and fond favourites of mine for 25 years and I’m always excited to see new stories hitting the shelves, especially when they feature characters that have only had a very brief but intriguing appearance. Crimson Lotus is one of those stories. We know she was the top Japanese Agent in the Second World War and the nemesis of Lobster Johnson, and we know she was the mother of tragic hero Ben Daimio, but in terms of her actual life and how she came to be any of these… well, we’re about to find out.
Opening in 1904, a young Miryoku witnesses the horrific slaughter of her father at the hands of the mad monk Rasputin setting her on a path of revenge against the Russians and on a collision course with one dashing and charismatic Agent Dai
John Arcudi has been a regular writer for Mike Mignola’s titles over the years, having previously worked on Lobster Johnson, B.P.R.D. and Sledgehammer 44, and he knows exactly what makes a Mignolaverse story work so I’m really looking forward to seeing what he has in store for us here. There is certainly a lot going on in this first issue and Arcudi has a great sense of drama and a flair for the Lovecraftian which really helps bring the world to to life.
I’m also excited to see what Mindy Lee & Michelle Madsen can bring to the table, because whilst there’s always a very defined style and tone to the worlds under the benevolent gaze of Mignola, it’s great to see artists stamp their own personalities on the characters. I’ve found that this has always worked best with standalone storylines and Crimson Lotus being both standalone and a featuring new set of characters should work to their advantage.
Overall this is an intriguing start and one I’m keen to follow but, as with all of the standalone entries in the Mignolaverse, I think this is going to be one that is best read as a graphic novel rather than in single issues. From past experience I’ve found that the single issue format frequently takes you out of the story and doesn’t allow you to fully appreciate its nuances, and I’ve most enjoyed either being able to read the whole story in one go or in the longer trade paperback format.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek