Book Review: Baltimore: The Plague Ships Volume One

Baltimore: The Plague Ships Volume One is a graphic novel in the horror genre due for publication on June 8 2011. It comes from a creative team including the writers Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, artist Ben Stenbeck, colorist Dave Stewart. This volume collects the first five issues of the miniseries, which is a companion to Baltimore: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire by Mike Mignola. There is an interesting and extensive collection of sketches at the end of the volume.

Baltimore: The Plague Ships takes place in a world where a devastating plague has brought World War I to and end. However, this is no normal plague. Some victims of this plague get up to walk again as vampires or empty shells. Before long, Europe has been overrun with vampires. Lord Henry Baltimore is a soldier that has witnessed the horrors of the plague in all of its forms and is determined to wipe out all of the monsters. Although killing one vampire in particular is his true goal. Baltimore’s journey takes him through battlefields, ravaged towns, ships that once carried plague victims, and submarine graveyards.

First, let us talk about the good parts. I found the artwork in to be phenomenal, and really worth the cost of the book. The horrific view of vampires and the undead reeking havoc is enough to make you want to stay awake. The feel of the story is a little Dracula and little Poe, with nothing but actually evil vampires. There are no sparkles, no goofy sidekicks and no vampires with pure hearts. It is all mankind verses the evil, set against the backdrop of war, fear and humanity at its best and worst.

Now for those less than good parts. I thought that the characters all seemed to be a little flat, but I have not read Baltimore: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, which appears to give much more detail about Baltimore and his battle with vampires. I am intrigued enough by this volume to go back and read Baltimore: Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire and to continue following the story of Lord Baltimore in future volumes.
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