Crimson Lotus No. 4 review: Red herrings and bloody idols


All becomes clear in the latest issue of Crimson Lotus.

Without a doubt, Hellboy is one of the greatest comics ever written. Spawning several offshoots and miniseries’, the tales surrounding the B.P.R.D. are fantastic, Lovecraftian, and utterly gorgeous. One of the deadliest enemies of the precursor to the B.P.R.D. is the Crimson Lotus, and this five-part miniseries from author John Arcudi, artist Mindy Lee, colorist Michelle Madsen, letterer Clem Robins, and covers by Tonci Zonjic has filled us in on her backstory, from very young to the height of WWII. The lurid colors of China and the ethereal tones used to display magic are amazing, and the plot, which has thus far been fairly convoluted and obtuse, is explained in such a way that it should have been obvious from the start.

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Spies hate getting duped, and magic dragons, in Crimson Lotus

Last issue, Agent Dai had been cornered in his hotel room in China by the Crimson Lotus, after whatever big secret Dai is participating in. After reading his mind in a double page spread that looks fantastic, she discovers he has no secrets at all; in fact, he was being fed false information to trick her. Dai goes for a gun, but the evil masked demon monkeys have his pistol. And the Crimson Lotus is smashing him against a wall and making his eyes bleed when a giant neon magic dragon busts through the wall, snatches up the Crimson Lotus, and carries her off into the night. Dai is rescued by Agent Shengli, who has been the Penny to Dai’s Inspector Gadget this whole time. They flee from the pistol-wielding monkey and jump out a window, safely lowered to the ground by Shengli’s magic.

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Hidden temples and demon blood await in Crimson Lotus

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After doing some arguing about being used as bait and broken ribs, they split up, and Shengli heads to the next rendezvous point, where she discovers that Dai tailed her there. Upset at first, she and Agent Dai eventually head deep into the mountains and finally arrive at a temple, secreted away and guarded by soldiers and monks. Inside rests the idol from the first issue that Rasputin ordered removed from the Crimson Lotus’ childhood home. The idol is apparently a big deal, predating known civilization and supposedly being forged from Hell itself, with the power to control ancient demons. Dai and Shengli were tailed by the masked monkeys, and as our heroes are swarmed by dozens of the evil primates, the idol starts bleeding from magical wounds, and the blood turns into winged demons and a red-eyed Cthulhu-type creature.

East of West No. 41 is gearing up for war!. dark. Next

Since there’s only one issue left, it can safely be assumed that there will be big magical warfare happening next issue. The buildup has been slow but just jarring enough, and now, we’re going to see some blood demons fighting some magic dragons. And it’s going to look amazing. 8/10, recommended, and a must-read if you’re trying to conquer the entire Hellboy universe. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.