Images © Mike Mignola.
The first collection of this new feature written by Mignola and Christopher Golden, with art by Ben Stenbeck has a medieval Europe feel to it, though it takes place in 1916. Enhancing the atmosphere are a legion of vampires who are not only preying on the war-ravaged population of some coastal French towns, but spreading an infectious plague that’s killing even more of them. Lord Henry Baltimore is a soldier of high rank who tries to fight back against the vampires, particularly one who has devastated his own life, as we see in flashbacks. Accompanying him is a woman named Vanessa who seems more interested in having adventures than killing vampires. Baltimore tries to put her off, but Vanessa insists on traveling with him despite his warnings that she will deeply regret it. The things they encounter eventually prove him right.
The art by Ben Stenbeck has a strong Mignola flavor, such that Mike may well have drawn rough layouts for him to follow, but that’s just my guess. The story has many shuddery moments as well as some poignant ones, but I have to admit I didn’t find Lord Baltimore as interesting as other Mignola protagonists. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it’s because beneath his anger, and despite his wooden leg, he seems a rather ordinary person. Nothing wrong with that, but he pales in comparison to Hellboy and other members of the B.P.R.D. Still, a good read.