Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1

Written by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art by Ben Stenbeck

I don't know that I was exactly clamoring for another Baltimore comic, but it seems that the Mignola comics machine is trying to maintain a greater output these days, with Baltimore and Witchfinder trading story arcs as the two outliers of the Mignola-verse (and yes, I know that Baltimore is not set in the same continuity as everything else, thank you).

I enjoyed the first comic arc (never read the novel) well enough, but appreciate the fact that I know what's going on, and who is who in this new series much more.  The first series didn't explain things until a few issues in, and it was confusing.

Lord Baltimore is still pursuing Haigus, the ancient vampire who ruined his life, and is still coming across traps the creature has left for him.  Some stuff happens in a small town in Switzerland, but of course, that's just the pre-credit action sequence.  Later, still on Haigus's trail, Baltimore meets an American journalist who knows a few things about vampires and the other creatures awakening on the Earth.  Baltimore needs this kind of character - the man barely speaks, so this new guy will provide most of the explication as we go along.

Ben Stenbeck's art looks different here.  It's looser and more open than before - it feels like he's less concerned with staying within the Mignola house style (which is pretty broadly defined), and is making the book a little more of his own.  Strangely, that sometimes means that Baltimore takes on a Munch-ian quality, but that would go away were he to allow his hair to grow.

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