Crimson Lotus No. 3 review: Killer illusions and the ol’ switcheroo

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All the mystical action you could hope for in Crimson Lotus No. 3.

Some comics do a slow burn, with gradual buildup to a big payoff. It would seem Crimson Lotus is beginning its stride, because things are getting intense, and there’s only two issues left in the miniseries. Written by the masterful John Arcudi, drawn by Mindy Lee, colored by Michelle Madsen and lettered by Clem Robins, this issue dives deep into the magical background of the Crimson Lotus, of Hellboy fame and how she came to be. We start to see the scope of her powers, and we also learn about the defensive and offensive powers of our main characters; the belief in magic charms plays a big part in the story of this issue, as well.

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The resistance gets busted up in Crimson Lotus

Last issue, there was some sweet fighting on a train, and the Crimson Lotus killed a dude with a monster, plotting on killing the Chinese spies. This issue starts with a gathering of the Chinese resistance at a bar in Harbin, China. Dai and Shengli learn that the body of Baolu, the guy the Crimson Lotus, who is Japanese, got in the last issue, has been discovered. Shengli gives Dai a talisman of protection, in return for a coin he got in Hong Kong. After putting it on him, the walls get busted in and they both, along with everyone in the bar, suddenly have to fight a giant tiger-demon. Dai fires on it with his service revolver, to no effect. After killing several people, the beast heads for Dai, but is transformed into butterflies by Shengli. She points out that her good luck charm kept him alive, but he denies it and reloads, and then, with a giant explosion, the Crimson Lotus and a bunch of soldiers appear.

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Witness the power of the Crimson Lotus

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The Crimson Lotus is there, fists blazing with power, in her fur-lined coat (awesome accessory). Learning that she wants him alive, Shengli sends Dai away, charging up her own power-fists. Dai runs into the soldiers, but the resistance fights back, pelting them with rocks, allowing him to get away from them. The Crimson Lotus comes at Shengli with a giant, neon-green dragon spirit thing, and it looks awesome. Shengli has formidable defenses of her own, and blasts the arm of the dragon in an amazing shot, with the damage to the dragon looking almost digitized, or binary or something. Being pursued by soldiers, Agent Dai climbs towards the top of the building they were in, and after some flying and some rope darts and more power-fists and energy shields, Shengli and the Crimson Lotus are out in the street, face to face, the Lotus’ power-fists a-blazing. Shengli is offered an end to the fighting and an offer to be taught more about the dark arts by the Lotus, and they both see what appears to be Agent Dai being shot by a soldier and falling off the roof, upsetting both Shengli and the Lotus.

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It turns out Dai switched clothes with a soldier, and the fact the Crimson Lotus thinks he is dead is a plus for the resistance. After talking about the power of the charm again, the two agents head back to their hotel to leave and let headquarters know the latest developments. And when Dai enters his room, the Crimson Lotus is waiting there for him, power-fists going strong and furniture levitating, and three of the creepy mask-monkeys there. Real good cliffhanger vibe with the final page. This comic is definitely worth a read. Let us know what you thought in the comment section below.