This new Baltimore story arc proves to be quite satisfying. This one finds Baltimore and his band of brothers telling tales while they dig graves. The graves aren’t all quite ready for use but these guys seem to know what they’re doing. I love the artwork by Peter Bergting who provides a sure-handed take on Mike Mignola’s style. The story, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, kicks off with a reliable dose of droll and quirky narrative. Quite a number of things are set into motion not the least of which is Baltimore learning more about the whereabouts of the Blood Red Witch and seeing her handiwork firsthand.
I fall in with readers who decide now is a good time to step in. I think it is part of the fun to find your way into the big picture of plot and characters. For instance, I appreciate that I need to go back and read The Cult of the Red King, but that’s okay. This issue is engaging without prior knowledge. For one thing, it gives you some interesting hooks into Baltimore’s backstory such as his Indian guide, Harish. He saw some pretty dark stuff during his command of the Indian Expeditionary Force while on a mission in Tanganyika. Could have been destruction by zombies, you just never know.
The love for atmosphere and setting is definitely alive here as both artist Peter Bergting and colorist Dave Stewart add to and enhance the Mignolaverse. If you love steampunk, or just general exotica, you can’t go wrong with scenes set in such times and places as St. Petersburg, Russia, circa 1920. That’s pretty strange and weird, right? Well, not to a regular fan of the Mignolaverse. No, to a diehard fan, that’s as common as the 7-Eleven down on the corner. But have that very same fan try and get a chili dog in 1920s St. Petersburg, and he’s going to come back down to earth. You know, come to think of it, 7-Eleven should sell comic books. Bring back the spinner rack!
So, here is a solid issue to what looks to be a action-packed adventure. It fits right in with a busy next few months as Dark Horse Comics rolls out the conclusions to Hellboy in Hell, Abe Sapien, and Hell on Earth over the course of this summer. Also from Dark Horse this summer is the 384-page prose anthology, “Children of Lovecraft.” For such a recluse, Howard Phillips Lovecraft sure did leave behind a thriving literary progeny. Dark Horse Comics is part of that and this book is a shining example with work by Richard Kadrey, Brian Hodge, A. C. Wise, Siobhan Carroll, Orrin Grey, and many more. This item goes on sale August 31 with cover art by Mike Mignola.
Continuing with the subject of Mike Mignola, there is a new study of the Mignolaverse, “Hellboy’s World: Comics and Monsters on the Margins” by Scott Bukatman. This book is an insightful look at the influences on Hellboy, including H.P. Lovecraft. You’ll find a review for it here shortly. Well, with all that said, you will undoubtedly find something to enjoy from Dark Horse if you are a Hellboy fan or just someone who enjoys good horror and a good story.
BALTIMORE: EMPTY GRAVES #1 is available as of April 6, 2016. For more details, visit Dark Horse Comics right here.