Baltimore: The Infernal Train #1 Review

baltimore

Baltimore: The Infernal Train #1 of 3 | Writer: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden | Artist: Ben Stenbeck | Colorist: Dave Stewart | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $3.50 | From my column @ Forces of Geek.com

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden at Boston Comic Con last month. While everyone wanted to talk Hellboy, I went in a different route and talked about the vengeance filled vampire hunter, Lord Henry Baltimore.

 

Their work on this series is some of the best stuff I’ve ever read. So you can imagine my surprise when the duo told me that reviewers love this series, but the fan community is kind of quiet on the subject of Baltimore. I found this disheartening considering the character has been in circulation for six years.

That’s not a milestone of any means but it does say something about the staying power of a series that, despite its excellent reputation within the industry, the dollars and cents of it all might not add up. Does this mean that comic reviews are more enlightened than others? What I think it means is that there is a lack of appreciation, or even notice, for a story that takes a carefully crafted spin on a popular genre like vampires.

Baltimore’s hunt for Haigus has brought him to Budapest. Most of the cities he traveled to are crippled with fear of coming terror. This time, people are celebrating what may be the end of times which doesn’t faze him in the slightest.

The Infernal Train rolls into town, with a mysterious conductor, and she makes him an offer too good to be true. Baltimore is on the case and with good reason. Ben Stenbeck’s artwork has optimized this series in such a way that it not only enhances the plot, but gives the book that sense of infinite darkness.

There is one panel in the beginning of the book where people are buying and trading goods with street vendors. There is even a little white dog barking at people passing through. It’s a scene with pedestrian activity but the way it is drawn, coupled with Dave Stewart’s coloring, gives you the impression that these folks are already dead and we are witnessing some of their final moments.

If capes and cowls are not for you and you are tired of the vampire thing, this is a must read because it’s brought so much to the table than you could imagine.

Grade: A-

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