Advance Review: 'Baltimore: The Infernal Train' #2: the Good Guys are LosingA comic review article by: Zack Davisson
My favorite scene of this comic: Inquisitor Duvic stands--covered in blood, raging mad, and holding a severed head—and orders the local constabulary to immediately seize Lord Baltimore. The police captain looks stunned at being ordered about by a madman, and replies smoothly “With all due respect, Father, you have a wild look about you. You’ll forgive me if I require some proof of your claims.”
That sums up this issue of Balitmore. The once-peaceful town is overrun by vampires, and both of the “heroes” look as much like monsters as any dark creature roaming the street. Lord Baltimore retains his cool, while Inquisitor Duvic has been swallowed whole by the darkness he carries. The regular people don’t know who to trust, who to believe, and the wrong move will drag them all down to death. One thing is clear; the good guys are losing. If there ever was such a thing as “good guys.”
(Or maybe my favorite scene was Baltimore holding off a horde of vampires with something that amounts to a rapid-fire blunderbuss—that was pretty cool too.)
Darkness is rising in the world of Baltimore. The purpose of the Infernal Train is revealed, and hints of a new monster—The Red King—are revealed. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. I've always loved the personal feel of Baltimore, with the bitter triangle of Lord Baltimore, Inquisitor Duvic, and the vampire Haigus. I liked the small scale. I’m a little nervous to see the arrival of cosmic monsters into the story. It doesn’t feel right. There seem to be too many players coming on the playing field. I hope Baltimore doesn’t go too widescreen, or lose its focus. Keep it personal. Keep it Poe-esque, and stay away from Lovecraft territory.
The art team of Ben Stenbeck and the King of Colors Dave Stewart rocked this issue, as usual. Stenbeck pulled off some great images with Inspector Duvic giving into his bloodlust and madness. I love his costume work as well—everything in here feels authentic. I’m no expert on the era (nor do I know if things like a rapid-fire blunderbuss even existed) but I love the authentic feel Stenbeck brings to Baltimore. This isn’t steampunk. Stewart, as always, applies his colors with deft skill, setting the mood of every page, and creating a grim, dark world where the only colors are blood and fire.
Baltimore continues to be one of the most consistently great comics out there. This issue’s new revelation and twist wasn’t my favorite from this series, but I’ve learned to trust Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden as storytellers, so I’ll see where this goes.