REVIEW: Baltimore: Empty Graves #1 (of 5)

The hunt for the Red King continues as Lord Baltimore and his gang bury their dead and consolidate before moving forward.  However, things aren’t quite as simple when it comes to Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s  ongoing saga.  With previous mini series’ focusing on a variety of  ghouls and ghosts, the pair move their supernatural interest over to the undead.

Mignola and Golden choice to switch up is somewhat inspired.  Vampires are soulless creatures, sucking the life from their victims for either food or to turn them.  Metaphorically, Baltimore is in his own way, a type of vampire, carrying for his followers the risk of death, which with Baltimore seemingly unfeeling, gives the impression of soul-lessness.  This is probably the greatest use of smoke and mirrors in the issue as Baltimore’s quest and single mindlessness, much like any number of driven characters from the various comic book universes, implies a lack of caring which his alone time seems to contradict.

Also back on this new run is Peter Bergting, whose work suits the overall tone of the book.  That said, Pergting’s worked  looked better when he had architecture to ground the characters.  Here, the desolate winter doesn’t seem to have the same impact. Bergting’s work is reminiscent of Mignola’s, especially when it come to the use of facial expressions and angular lines that he uses sparingly, giving the panels a complementary feel.  It’s a Dark Horse book; it’s a Mignola-verse book so that means Dave Stewart is on colors.  This issue gives Stewart a chance to flex his muscles with the extreme darkness of the night and the contrasting brightness of day to contend with, which he does with great aplomb.

As regular readers of my reviews will now, I am a big Mignola fan; his work with Christpher Golden is no different.  The pair bring out the best of each others story telling.  However, I am not a big fan of the format.  It seems to me that despite the overall plan to kill the Red King, each mini series has its own “monsters of the week”, which can give the whole series a somewhat disjointed feel.

Writer: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Artist: Peter Bergting
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Ben Stenbeck

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