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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Comic Review - Baltimore: The Curse Bells


Baltimore: The Curse Bells 1-5
Publish Date/Year
Creative Team
Story: Mike Mignola &Christopher Golden 
Art: Ben Stenbeck

Dark Horse Comics
1916, Lucerne, Switzerland - in the middle of his pursuit of Haigus (the one-eyed vampire responsible for his family's deaths & the Monsters that are overrunning Europe) and ultimately the Red King, king of all vampires. Following reports that Haigus is holed up in a castle, one shrouded in death and dark magic, Lord Henry Baltimore and his new accomplice, Mr. Hodge, investigate the castle. While searching the castle, Baltimore stumbles upon a sinister ritual to raise the dead.

The supernatural ritual in which a pregnant woman is being sacrificed by an evil warlock priest to raise a powerful dead witch from beyond the grave - Madame Blavatsky.

The ritual is completed and the witch is born again. The priest wants the witch to grant him the power to put a curse on the bells of a famous church atop the town's hill, which will give him the absolute control over all who hear the bells' tolls.

Meanwhile, in a subplot, we are introduced to a zealous no-nonsense Inquisitor who, believing  Lord Baltimore to be an agent of the Devil, is hunting Lord Baltimore. This is a character to watch because, when he catches up with Baltimore, it would make for a very interesting confrontation.

Lord Baltimore finds the enemy that he’s been searching for - Haigus, who has also been captured in a holding cell by the evil priest. Baltimore is torn between eliminating his long time foe, Haigus, and stopping the priest that is trying to use the cursed bells of the church to control the population of the nearby town.

With the deformed & diminutive Madame Blavatsky preparing to curse the bells. Driven solely by his thirst for vengeance,Lord Baltimore breaks out of prison & faces the horrific Haigus in his cell.

Lord Baltimore fights the evil warlock priest that now has taken control of the townfolk nearby by cursing the bells of an old church. Everyone is under the priest’s control except for Lord Baltimore. Baltimore takes on the evil priest’s undead army of nuns and saves the day while Haigus escapes to fight another day.

Ben Stenbeck is no Mike Mignola but he is no pushover! His art has clean lines, not in the way Tintin is clean but more like a cross between Aaron Lopresti (Justice League International - New 52) & Darick Robertson (The Boys). Despite the clean lines, it didn't feel inappropriate. Still manages to evoke some scares & convey the creepy/dated feel to the series. The coloring was of course brilliantly executed to complement the artwork.

Since the Plague Ships, I was anxiously looking forward to seeing more of his work here in The Curse Bells! I am not disappointed!

If you love Mignola's Hellboy or BPRD (Bureau of Paranormal Defence), you will love this as well! Mignola is REALLY GOOD at mixing up historical events such as WWII (Hellboy) and WWI here with supernatural elements. So his stories feel real and truly believable, so much so that you can truly immerse yourself into the story. DO NOT MISS THIS! Go read it now!