Crimson Lotus No. 5 review: Zeppelins and demons and truth serums, oh my!


Crimson Lotus wraps up with a pleasing conclusion.

Mike Mignola did the world a favor when he created Hellboy, twenty-five years ago. The plethora of characters that inhabit the world Hellboy exists in have given readers dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of various escapades and thrilling adventures, replete with all kinds of villains of various forms. One of the greatest villains is, without a doubt, the Crimson Lotus, a mysterious witch who has time and again foiled the plans of Lobster Johnson, an all-American crime-fighter that kept on fighting evil long after he had died. John Arcudi, writer of the Crimson Lotus miniseries and countless B.P.R.D. stories, concludes this insightful look into the origins of the Crimson Lotus with style and panache, and Mindy Lee’s art and Michelle Madsen’s colors are resplendent, with wonderful interpretations of magical powers and monstrous forms. Lettered by the talented Clem Robins, with a cover by Tonci Zonjic, this final issue hits all the right notes of the spooky sonata that is Crimson Lotus.

Dark Horse Comics

The Crimson Lotus fights hard for what she wants, and she wants evil idols

In the last issue, the Crimson Lotus learned the location of the artifact that Rasputin had taken from her childhood home, killing her father in the process. This issue focuses on the battle waged at the hidden temple the idol is being stored at, defended by Chinese secret agents, the Chinese army, and Chinese wizards. Japanese soldiers parachute in from hydrogen-filled zeppelins, engaging in combat outside the temple. A soldier attempts to inform everyone inside of the invasion, but is disappeared by mystical green smoke. Inside, agents Shengli and Dai are fighting furiously against blood demons and those creepy masked monkey-demons (Noh monkeys, based on traditional Japanese dance), when the Crimson Lotus shows up and makes the battle much more difficult. Shengli and some magical monks blast her with some sweet rainbow energy, and the fight rages on until everyone is knocked flat by an explosion.

Dark Horse Comics

Deus ex Varvara

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Right before that explosion, the Crimson Lotus was almost in possession of the idol, but her demons are destroyed in the blast. When the smoke clears, sitting on a rocking horse is Varvara, the little Russian girl whose body is inhabited by a major demon of Hell. Varvara talks a whole bunch of smack, then destroys the idol, warning the Crimson Lotus to not get to big for her britches. A huge pillar of energy blows out the roof and ignites the hydrogen in the zeppelins, making a big ol’ fireball in the sky. The Crimson Lotus appears catatonic, and Dai and Shengli travel with her body to a facility where she is to be questioned, with the help of some truth serums. By the time they get to the interrogation room, there is a bunch of mystical green smoke floating around and, instead of the Crimson Lotus, the body of the disappeared soldier from the beginning of the story is there, handcuffed and dead.

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The old switcheroo is one of the best, and most reliable, tricks a villain can use, and the Crimson Lotus pulled it off here magnificently. The miniseries is over, she has escaped, and now we know that she will continue to wreak havoc against the United states for years to come, until she is captured and put on trial for war crimes after WWII. We learned a great deal about her motivations, and now have a better understanding of why she does what she does. 8/10, recommended. Let us know what you thought in the comments section below.