REVIEW: BALTIMORE: THE CULT OF THE RED KING #1

Writer: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Artist: Peter Bergting
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 05/06/2015

Lord Baltimore is on a quest to rid the world of the Red King. However he, and his crew, may have more immediate dangers to face.

The long running series from Dark Horse returns this week. On board are co-creators and co-writers Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola along with returning artist Peter Bergting and colourist Dave Stewart, who as a group are well on top of their respective games.

The book has a literary feel.That may be due to the fact that it is quite wordy. I don’t mind this as it give the story more weight and gravitas. This style may be due to Golden’s own literary background or the fact that as the first part of the arc, the scene and future plots need to be set up. Regardless of the reasons, reading it feels like you are reading a book of substance. Mignola seems to be the Dark Horse go to guy for horror and supernatural stories and you can see why. Each of his books has a unique feel, despite having a similar style. This is a credit to Mignola, his writing partners and the characters they create.  In this case, Baltimore is somewhat of a tortured man. After seeing horrors upon horrors he is has a choice to make, fight or flight. He chooses the former and sets his sights on various creatures and the undead.

The art by Bergting is suitably dark and shadowy. I would be interested in finding out how much input former artist Mignola has on the overall artistic style. There is something satisfying about having a European artist draw European places. I am not saying artists from other continents are bad, just there seems a level of authenticity in the book. Dave Stewart…. I don’t know what more I can say. Regular readers of my reviews know how great I think Stewart is. This book is no exception.

There are a few familiar tropes, from the name carved in stone, the underground library, which reminded me of Arkham City (you’ll get it when you see it….although it could just be me!) the Doc Savage feel to having two teams working in different locales towards an overall goal. The first issue does its job really well, reintroducing the Baltimore character and setting up the ongoing quest. I for one will gladly join the crew, to see where Lord Baltimore will lead us.

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