And just like that Mignola takes us from the graveyard to the battlefield as Baltimore: Empty Graves finally picks up. 1920s Constantinople, a great setting for any adventure story, even better if it’s filled with witches and their summoned creatures. We get to skip the anthology stories from the first two issues and jump straight back into Baltimore’s search for The Red King. In search of the Blood Red Witch, Baltimore and crew stumble upon a war torn city that is being tortured by witchcraft. As the remaining humans in this region of the world still continue to feud about political power, The Red Witch is busy planting her seed. As some of the royal family flees the city they are beset upon by a fungus creature that emerges from their car’s engine, infecting them with its roots. Baltimore immediately sets about burning the infected as well as the creature itself. When they finally reach the Princess who they were trying to save from the city’s dark magic infestation, it turns out that she is in fact the mother or some other relation to the Blood Red Witch. So, everyone in Baltimore except the main characters are either monsters, witches, or really fucked, it’s a pretty grim world that Mignola has created. After a heated battle with the witch her soul escapes through the ceiling and the royal guards (who think Baltimore just assassinated their Princess) come crashing through the door, ready to fight. The crew escapes and follows their last lead, finding the body of an ancient sultan in a deep crypt that might reveal some hidden clue. After much searching they find his mummified corpse, only to discover that he is speaking to them about where to go next. Alright, so first of all I’m glad we’re back in the thick of it, but the pacing in this issue is kind of crazy. As always I respect Mignola and Golden’s storytelling structure, but this issue felt very rushed. Last we knew we were slowly and somberly going through each of the newer characters’ backstories. Now all of a sudden we’re in Constantinople fighting tree people and killing witches. Admittedly the entire thing is very Baltimore and in keeping with the tradition of a Mignola comic, it’s really fun to read. If you’ve been paying close attention to this comic you shouldn’t have a problem following along. If you’ve just been scanning the latest issues for blood and gore, well, you might be a bit more confused. The bottom line is pretty simple: Baltimore needs to stop the Red King from destroying the world and will probably stab him through the heart or some melodramatic thing. Sometimes the how doesn’t matter so much as the what or where. For me Baltimore is as much about the entire experience as it is the story. I love seeing the dark world that Mignola has put us into. It’s like if A Series of Unfortunate Events had zombies and vampires in it. Overall this issue was fun, and now that we’re past the surprise scene change, I hope we’re in for a good couple of issues!
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]