Lobster Random is a comic strip that ran in Two Thousand AD
, created by Simon Spurrier and Carl Critchlow.
Lobster Random was once just an average grunt. After being wounded in combat (his first gunfight no less), he is "volunteered" into the Lobster squad
and given a pair of lobster claws grafted onto his hips. The result of this is he can no longer feel pain
nor does he need to sleep
. After winning the war, his entire unit barring himself and his Sergeant
are wiped out in an explosion at a celebratory party. Lob himself is discharged and becomes a torturer for hire
After many years travelling the galaxy dispensing pain, he is apprehended and sent to prison. Our story begins as Lob is about to be executed by use of a memory regression machine when he is rescued with a job offer.
The strip is known for its Black Comedy
and its protagonist is in keeping with the comic's tradition of avoiding square jawed handsome hero types.
Tropes specific to Lobster Random:
- Applied Phlebotinum: The claws. Also the mind spheres used by the Skeaxxians against human soldiers, causing them to have vivid nightmares and kill each other. The Lobster Squad's lack of need for sleep means that they don't dream and, therefore are immune.
- An Arm and a Leg: Lob loses one of his claws when Cadmium Redd slices it off. Lob replaces it with a mechanical claw until he loses that and his other claw on the Vort. Also, his left arm has been amputated on three separate occasions. And twice he has done this himself.
- Anti-Hero: Lob makes Snake Plissken look like Captain America.
- Axe Crazy: Lob can go a bit mental at times when he's fighting. He puts it down to his lack of sleep.
- Badass Grandpa
- Bald of Awesome / Bald of Evil: Depending on how you look at it, Lob is either (or both) of these.
- Big Bad: Warathraal.
- Black and Gray Morality: While Lob is far from a Nice Guy, unlike the guys he's up against, he's not trying to raise armies of Super Soldiers to take over the universe or destroy the fabric of reality.
- Brains and Brawn: Played with with Hogg and Pinn. Turns out the skinny guy with the massive head, Pinn, is the brawn, while the massive pig-like creature, Hogg, is the brains.
- Bounty Hunter: Hogg and Pinn.
- Combat Pragmatist
- Conjoined Twins: Rex Ferris has a T-Rex as one.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Damn near everyone.
- Deadpan Snarker: Random.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sergeant Lobster Diaz.
- Exalted Torturer
- Exposition Fairy: Oddly done. Random's execution is performed like this. It essentially shows his entire life in reverse, starting from his time on Death Row and finishing with his earliest childhood memories.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Random tortures Sergeant Diaz by surgically implanting a mindsphere into his brain, leaving him unable to come into contact with anybody. He later grants him a Mercy Kill.
- Feel No Pain
- Future Slang: Mostly swear words (Frag seems to be the most common one), but a few other terms show up.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Subverted. Turns out that the only modifications made to the Lobster Squad that actually did anything were the claws, which came from another plane of reality.
- A God Am I: Cadmium Redd and Warathraal.
- Grumpy Old Man
- Hammerspace: Random's bag in the first story allows him to pull out anything as he needs it. Lampshaded when he is examining a guy he needs to torture, explaining how chakras can be used in torture, before dismissing it and hauling out a massive sledgehammer and proceeding to beat his victim with it.
- Implacable Man: Lob feels no pain as a result of his modification. It also leaves him with no empathy towards his victims.
- Interspecies Romance: Random is a mechaphile (or "mekfag"). That is, he is only sexually attracted to robots, whether they be male, female or otherwise.
- Meaningful Name: Rex Ferris. The Lobster squad could also count, seeing as their first names were all changed to Lobster.
- Only in It for the Money: Lob, full stop. At one point, he turns against the masochistic dictator he's working for because the rebels offer him money. That and he's bored by hurting someone who wants to be hurt.
- Outlaw Couple: Random and Mrs Redd become this for a while. Their modus operandi involves Mrs Redd's robotic body disguising itself as a live woman and seducing billionaires into marriage, after which Random would torture them into a huge divorce settlement.
- Psycho for Hire: A rare case of one being The Protagonist.
- Scars Are Forever: The healing process that heals Lob's burns from the Vort and gives him his fourth left arm. still can't get rid of that x-shaped scar on his forehead.
- Science Is Useless: Nothing electrical will work on The Vort.
- Screw Politeness Im A Senior: Lob's experiences have left him hilariously cynical.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran
- Shocking Swerve: The Vort was a seemingly unrelated story about a war on a planet where nothing electrical will work. The story focused on a journalist covering the war who escapes with a soldier named "Crispy". Turns out that Crispy is actually Random who was compelled to go there by Warathraal to help him cross dimensions.
- Sociopathic Hero: Lob. He even admits that he's practically psychotic due to being unable to sleep.
- War Is Hell: The war backstory from Random's youth is over the planet Nixx's proximity to a wormhole. The humans and Skeaxxians spend years fighting over it, with heavy casualties on both sides (Random states that the rainforests went extinct due to the high volume of KIA letters sent to families) until the humans work out a way to overcome the Skeaxxians' Applied Phlebotinum weapon with the lobster squad. Cue the end of the war and the humans send probes through.......only to find nothing on the other side. Understandably, Random sees setting foot on Nixx as nightmarish, particularly when Cadmium Redd resurrects the dead lobster troopers as zombies.
- Weapon of Choice: Random's is the blowtorch. Or anything else that can cause unreasonable pain and suffering.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Cadmium Redd's fate.