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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: 'Baltimore: The Plague Ships'

Story by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art by Ben Stenbeck
Colors by Dave Stewart/Letters by Clem Robins
Historical horror graphic novel
June 2011
Dark Horse Comics
ISBN: 978-1595826732

Delving deeper into the story begun in Baltimore or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden bring their considerable storytelling skills to tell a cracking good ghost tale and, not coincidentally, give readers reason to care about their lonely hero.

Lord Henry Baltimore is not just a soldier in the Great War. Fate forces him to become a champion for humanity in the battle gainst Haigus, king of the vampires, after an unwanted battlefield encounter. A plague falls upon Baltimore's world that greets him in his travels and made it home from the war before he did.

Arriving in a village nearly decimated by the plague's carnage, Baltimore meets an intrepid young woman who insists on taking up his quest. Her grandmother, a fortune teller, warns her that "death sits upon his shoulder". But not his death. The death of everyone he loves. In their short time together, Vanessa and the reader learn why, and see why Baltimore's quest is a personal one.

The artwork is brilliant in bringing the story to life, perfectly fitting the words. It's dark and brings old nightmares to vivid life.

The Plague Ships opens even more possibilities for Lord Baltimore stories. He's far more enigmatic than Mignola's most-known brilliant creation, Hellboy, but shows great potential as an eternal wanderer.

This volume also features a tremendous introduction, "Back from the Dead", by Joe Hill, who definitely knows a thing or three about storytelling himself.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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