When a comic book opens with the titular character stepping through the flames to confront the vampire that murdered his family, the comic needs to do little more to impress Me. But Baltimore: Chapel of Bones relentlessly drives on past that first page with action that never wanes. Haigus and his undead minions attack Baltimore and his friends. When Baltimore fights back, Dr. Rose pays a terrible price. The lead vampire then confronts the vampire hunter and makes a very interesting statement. He claims that it was the war (World War I) that awoke the creatures, so Baltimore and his kind are all to blame.
That’s a brilliant and deep statement that requires some thought and reflection to gauge its full importance. This villain also garners some respect and empathy because he openly criticizes man’s capacity for war. I respect any comic that would advance such an idea, and I laud this book for endeavoring to be literary.
And as the battle between the two adversaries heightens, we readers see that greater forces are working their way through Baltimore’s world. Great revelations at the close of the story assure us that someone will be around to fight the creatures of the night and defend us, and that other, more menacing creatures than Haigus await to snatch us.
Stenbeck’s art does a brilliant job capturing the blood and gore. Additionally, his work with shadows and darkness provides the ideal backdrop for a hero like Baltimore and his tale. Mignola and Golden end the “Chapel of Bones” chapter with a brilliantly visual and cinematic climax that trumps all the other Vampire hunters and their tales.
Writers: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden Artist: Ben Stenbeck Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 2/5/14