REVIEW: Baltimore: Cult of the Red King #5 (of 5)

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

With the last issue of Mike Mignola’s and Christopher Golden’s latest Baltimore mini series, I can’t help feel a little underwhelmed. The issue starts with a bang and then all hell breaks loose as both parties, those in St. Petersburg and in Carthage face witches and monsters respectively.

The writing from the pair is certainly consistent, showing that they are definitely on the same page.  This is important when working as a team, each having to let their partners strengths do their magic.  Between them, Mignola and Golden have racked up an impressive amount of horror writing hours.  With that in mind, its a shame that, for me at least, they have succumbed to that comic book devil called Story Compression!  Looking at the series as a whole I am not sure what the point was.  You have one team looking for the Red King’s library and the other taking on a somewhat “wrong place, wrong time” sort of affair.  Not quite the striking a stake into the heart of the demon I was expecting to be honest.  That, coupled with the series being five issues long, only serves to diminish my interest as the impact of extra padding, symptom of the curse of Story Compression, arose.  There is no fault in the quality of the writing, more so the pace of the storytelling.

Peter Bergting is again on art duties and again does an admirable job, with the climax bringing more action panels than in previous issues. This in turn means that we don’t see the wonderful cityscapes from previous issues, instead we get panels colored in a way to suggest rather than to show environs.  As with the writing, the art has been consistent throughout, which is a bit of a trademark of books set within the Mignola-verse.

Looking at the series as whole, I am disappointed in this series.  I really like B.P.R.D and also enjoyed Frankenstein Underground.  With the current format of using mini-series, I feel that stories are having to fit the model, may be allowing for trade paperbacks down the line.  That’s all well and good, but stories have a natural length, extending past the point just means more quantity and less quality of work for your buck, rather then more quality with the correct quantity.

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