Baltimore: The Plague Ships #3

A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Lord Baltimore and his companion Vanessa take a sea cruise. On the tumultuous journey, our vampire-fighter relates a tale of guilt and woe.

Writers Mignola and Golden continue to entertain, this time with Lovecraftian, traditional, and original horrors. We discover that Lord Baltimore's attack is the excuse the vampires give for their war. The head blood-sucker claims that his kind only preyed on the dying and the dead. How noble. How humane. Lord Baltimore was neither. So, what's their argument now?

The way Stenbeck, Stewart and the writing team fleshed out these enormous, filthy creatures lends to the idea that the vampires were only just reigning in their bloodlust. They would have declared war on humanity sooner rather than later. Cry me a river, monsters, and burn in the sunlight.

It's refreshing to see vampires and other ghouls meet their demise in the golden rays of the sun. No sparkling here. These bastards flame on. Other eerie imagery unveils a technique in creating creatures of horror. Sometimes all you need do is transplant natural entities into unusual environments. Such an elegant technique yet so very creepy. Of course, the coloring helps define these beings. Stewart muddies the sky and the transparent forms. Had he unleashed a full light show, these monsters may have elicited a sense of wonder, instead of itchiness.

The visitors, however, are mere backdrops in an increasingly eerie world. The major monster spores on an island of wrecked submarines, which serve as a reminder of the first World War setting and foreshadow doom, perhaps even the end of humankind and its technology. The purple fungus craftily recalls the maestro's imaginings while emitting a unique miasma. Do those mushroom caps look like brains? Why, yes. I believe they do.

Lord Baltimore and Vanessa grow a little closer. In fact, their relationship is somewhat like the Doctor and his companion. However, the characterization isn't quite so important this issue. This week Baltimore: The Plague Ships is a tour of the supernatural earth, rendered ably by Stenbeck and Stewart as directed by Mignola and Golden. The perfect Halloween book.

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