Black Magic, Corrupt Religion and Abolute Evil in “Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #2” Review

Jun 3, 2015

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Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King #2
Dark Horse Comics

Written by: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden
Art by: Peter Bergting

We here at Geeks With Wives have taken notice of the new comic series “Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King” by Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy, and Christopher Golden, “New York Times” bestselling novelist, that started its first arc last month. Its story’s lore extends into this medium from a novel of the same name: “Baltimore.” Also, co-written by Mignola and Golden. How the comic has been described to us is…

The Red King is legendary. But is he the stuff of myth—or the ultimate adversary of the human race? In this series, Lord Baltimore discovers the truth about an ancient evil that threatens to destroy the world.

… Black magic, corrupt religion and absolute evil? …

After a devastating plague ends World War I, Europe is suddenly flooded with vampires. Lord Henry Baltimore, a soldier determined to wipe out the monsters, fights his way through bloody battlefields, ruined plague ships, exploding zeppelins, and submarine graveyards on the hunt for the creature who’s become his obsession.

This panel from issue No. 1 is an example of what "Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King" has to return to doing: a bit of origin.

This panel from issue No. 1 is an example of what “Baltimore: The Cult of the Red King” has to return to doing: a bit of origin.

It should be noted at this point of the review that The Cult of the Red King is only a five-part arc. Meaning, it shouldn’t waste the reader’s time, and for the most part it doesn’t. Yet its cliffhangers are sub-par and it reads as if it were a novel, which hurts the flow if read issue by issue. It’s a cliche among us comic readers, but this book may be best to wait for a release in trade. The story lacks focus right now in its early stages and characterization is no where to be seen because there are way too many people to hone in on to even try to relate to any. Along with that, character interactions are very as-a-matter-of-fact. Treating said readers as if they have previous knowledge of the series, which is bold and commendable but self-inflicting.

With that said, the writing and artwork are excellent. As it’s being read, The Cult of the Red King noticeably has a rich-history behind it from how Mignola and Golden tell the story to Peter Bergting’s stylized visuals. Think Francesco Francavilla in terms of the art. Apologies but another cliche here is necessary. It has the potential because of the already built world Mignola and Golden have created in Baltimore’s past works. But issue no. 3 needs to make this setting feel new to newcomers of the series by either providing more origin or starting to reveal some continue-reading worthy plot points because so far its unfocused story, poor characterization and slow-build are holding back what could be a must read series.