REVIEW: Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #2 (of 5)

Writer: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Artist: Peter Bergting
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Cover Artist: Ben Stenbec
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 06/03/2015

Part two follows it’s somewhat linear but fragmented approach from the previous issue, with Baltimore’s group crossing the icy St. Petersburg ice fields and the rest hunting the catacombs for evidence of the Red King.

Mike Mignola is once again partnered up with Christopher Golden, charting both avenues of horror, with both elements getting a fair slice of the action it is hard to determine where my preferences lie. On one hand you have the quest for answers which may lead to finding the elusive Red King and on the other, it seems we have a bit of a monster of the week threat in the witches of St. Petersburg.

The above may sound harsh, given my predication towards most things Mignola, but I am afraid that what the whole St. Petersburg element was beginning to feel like. It is thankfully rescued by a quite brilliant final page. The gang in the catacombs have the more traditional horror element to contend with; attacks and a wait till dawn to survive. Throw in a possible possession and you have all the ingredients of a goulash soup of supernatural situations.

Peter Bergting puts in another solid series of artwork, conveying a number of different emotions across the various levels of imperiled that both teams face. The work is particularly strong around the cityscapes allowing the colours from the excellent Dave Stewart to speak volumes of the intent and focus that drives Baltimore forward. Given that Baltimore is driven by his inner demons to haunt the actual demon, all three aspects needs to work in conjunction to make the book work.

The quality of the book remains high, which is a credit to all involved. With a book or series of books, that feature one particular style of universe, it’s easy to lose the reader’s attention and human nature means we are always looking to knock down that which remains at a high level. This book, for the most part, is an exception. Hopefully the story will continue to surprise in what is becoming a congested genre.


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