Title: Baltimore Omnibus.
Writer(s): Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden.
Artist(s): Ben Stenbeck.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart.
Letterer(s): Clem Robins.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: October 22nd 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy, Horror.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Have you ever taken the time to sit down and reflect on folklores and mythologies, and how they always hold some kind of mythic sense and wisdom? Amongst the strange creatures and the eerie atmospheres, there’s an underlying layer of supernaturalism that keeps you tethered into its realm, craving for more of the bizarre as you get sucked into the unusual world. Some writers simply have the imagination to think them through, while others have the penmanship to bring them to life. As rare as they come, a harmonious unified vision of these two kinds of people is what the world needs more of.
Known for the creation of Hellboy, Mike Mignola is the mastermind behind one of the greatest vampire hunters of all time, known as Lord Henry Baltimore. Originally created by him in 2007 for an illustrated novel, called Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, Christopher Golden ended up being the one to pen it to life. Together they then conceived a comic book series based on that novel that has gone down as one of the most beautiful joint efforts in the business.
What is Baltimore Omnibus Vol. 1 about? Following a devastating plague that ends World War I, Europe faces a surge of vampires that have overtaken the cold nights and have blindly taken innocent lives whenever they can. Driven by a deadly desire for vengeance, the determined soldier Lord Henry Baltimore is searching the European lands for a vampire that has ruined his life, even if it means battling hordes of monsters while recklessly putting his life on the line. This omnibus edition collects half of the comic book series—four out of the eight volumes that have been released in the past—that is The Plague Ships, The Curse Bells, A Passing Stranger and Other Stories, as well as Chapel of Bones.
Within this omnibus, each story arc is structured so that each chapter allowed subtle world-building and character development with the vampire hunter, while also exploring other points of view, from citizens to enemies, giving the reader an idea of everyone’s motives and their uncontrollable destiny that is often felt like a legend in the making. While Lord Henry Baltimore travels by sea or land, and is frequently stopped by countless distractions within different towns where evil has come to corrupt the land and its people, he’s also hunted down by others who only see the darkness growing within him and wishes to relay God’s righteousness and rid the world of such evil by themselves. As you progress through this series, you come to see that the vampire hunter isn’t only seeing red, craving for vengeance, but is simply sacrificing himself for the greater good while allowing his desire for vengeance to be his driving force.
Ben Stenbeck’s artwork, reminiscent of that which can be found within the Hellboy franchise, allowed this comic book series to embrace a unique vision that works wonderfully with Mike Mignola’s and Christopher Golden’s story. Sparingly utilizing action-oriented sequences with zero dialogues to capture the goriness of Lord Henry Baltimore’s cause was also played out quite perfectly throughout this omnibus. Although his penciling isn’t intended to convey disgust in its purest form within readers, it does portray the unnatural and horrifying context and setting in which the story takes place, making the reader grasp the bleak reality in which Lord Henry Baltimore lives in. To further capture this impression, Dave Stewart’s colouring helps immensely in giving the story a dark tone that illustrates the gloomy world and its dreadful abominations.
Baltimore Omnibus Vol. 1 is a bewitching collection of stories following a vampire hunter’s quest fueled by vengeance in a world plagued with rot and death.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!