You can generally tell from the art style of a Dark Horse comic if Mike Mignola is involved in the writing even without reading the credits. Even if this wasn’t a continuation from the Lord Baltimore series that fans of Mignola are already familiar with, the style alone just screams that it’s something by him.
It’s rare to have a writer have this much control over what his books look like but I’m glad that he does. The muted tones and minimalistic feel that Stenbeck brings to the book goes hand in hand with the Gothic suspense filled writing style that Mignola is known for and working with Christopher Golden just makes the title even better. So let us return once again to the world where Lord Baltimore is on a quest to rid his world of the evil which took his family. A nobleman turned hunter whose very friends can not recognize the killer that he has become from the man he once was.
In this post-World War 1 setting, we see Baltimore once again on an unknowable mission that seems destined to pit him against the evils of the world. This time up it’s looking as if we may have a final confrontation between Baltimore and the vampire Haigus who has killed his family. We open with many of Baltimore’s allies having been summoned, apparently by the Lord, for a meeting though one we have no true knowledge of. As they wait and our hero doesn’t show they are offered a room for the night by an artist who has been in the pub drinking.
His three allies? Demetrius, the captain who returned Baltimore to England after the war, Mr. Childress, who is an English aristocrat that grew up with Baltimore’s, and Dr. Rose, the surgeon who was forced to amputate Baltimore’s leg and is in no rush to meet with the man again.
All of them end up as “guests” of the vampire who is worn out and believes that Baltimore will end him when he does arrive and that he will not be able to fight against the man who has crusaded against him for so long. Not being satisfied to die without a fight, it is shown that his plan is to, at the very least, kill Baltimore’s friends and leave him truly alone.
The vampire’s other plan, though, is to contact the ancient evil God that was introduced in ‘Baltimore: The Infernal Train’. While I suspect this God will not save Haigus (though it could be possible), he will instead hear his prayers upon his death and start to awaken to be an entirely new and greater threat that our hero will need to put an end to.
Even without much of Baltimore in it the setup, this issue was great and was easy to follow. This one would be a great jumping in point if you don’t want to track down all of the previous issues. (Though, if you are a fan of Mignola you owe it to yourself to pick them up as well!)
BALTIMORE: CHAPEL OF BONES #1
Writers: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden
Artist: Ben Stenbeck