Baltimore: The Play | Writer: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden | Art: Ben Stenbeck | Colors: Dave Stewart | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $3.50
Have you ever read something that was so good, you didn’t want to finish it because the story would be over? That was my experience while reading Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Baltimore: The Play, which is a perfect example of horror done right for the comic genre.
It’s almost impossible to scare people these days with traditional horror elements.
Characters need to have more depth and the story has to be more involved to the point where ghosts, goblins and vampires serve as a backdrop to a much larger picture.
The title character, Lord Baltimore, is on a search for Haigus, the vampire who took his leg, and it brings him to Verona, Italy where the dead outnumber the living due to a plague.
The story flashes back to two weeks earlier to a theater production that Haigus is overseeing with his sights set on the beautiful leading lady who has captured his heart. Little does he know, the words of Edgar Allan Poe influence everything that occurs behind the curtain creating a romantic tension that builds toward the bloody finale.
There is elegance and brilliance in every facet of the story being told. Whenever you start feeling any type of sympathy for Haigus, Mignola and Golden remind you that he is the bad guy with the images of suffering due to the plague he caused. Ben Stenbeck is an artist with remarkable talent. Items that would come off as ridiculously dismissive have an ambiance that seems normal for the story. His depiction of emotion and body language is something you don’t see in comics on a regular basis and it superbly adds to the story.
What else needs to be said about the coloring of Dave Stewart?
He is the standard for a tale such as this and his work enhances every panel on every page. In a world where capes and cowls dominate the market, this type of story could be lost on some people. Those who will try anything once are in for a real treat while those who are familiar with the series will be impressed to no end.