A vampire plague has been sweeping through Europe since the end of World War I. Humanity’s only hope is Lord Henry Baltimore, a soldier determined to hunt down the vampire responsible for the chaos, Hiagus. However, while Baltimore hunts, he is being followed by Andre Duvic, a mad judge of the New Inquisition. Duvic believes Baltimore’s soul needs cleansing due to his constant involvement with vampires. Since Duvic has become a distraction on his journey, Baltimore has lured the judge to Budapest for a final confrontation.
Great plot developments for the series
The inky, dark toned art fits the grim tone of the comic
Antagonist makes classic supervillain errors
Protagonist is a single-minded anti-hero with little regard for innocent lives
BALTIMORE: THE INFERNAL TRAIN #2
Writer: Mike Magnola and Christopher Golden
Artist: Ben Stenback
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Editor: Scott Allie
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Cover Price: $3.50
Previously in Baltimore: The Infernal Train: Lord Henry Baltimore enters Budapest hoping to lure Duvic into an ambush. The streets are overrun with vampires and, while waiting for Duvic’s arrival, Baltimore decides to investigate. He finds a train fueled by vampires when they enter the burning engine. Before he can look further, Baltimore is stopped by the night watchman. The next day, a crowd of people swarm the train run by Miss Fulcanelli. The city has been using it to ward off the vampire epidemic. At night, Baltimore follows a crowd of vampires to the train where he finds a dozen ancient vampires operating it. He makes his way to the city’s armory and steals some supples. When Baltimore returns to his hotel, Duvic is there.
GREAT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Mike Magnola and Christopher Golden continue their story of Lord Henry Baltimore as he and Duvic battle in the Budapest hotel. Baltimore reminds me of Captain Ahab with his wooden leg and a spear slung over his back. Also, like Ahab, Baltimore is driven by one unshakable goal, finding Hiagus for revenge. His determination is so strong, Lord Baltimore is willing to sacrifice innocent people to get his way, as seen in this final pages of this issue. He is a deeply developed anti-hero in a grim alternate history. Meanwhile, Miss Fulcanelli is an intriguing sub-villain who is introduced in this issue. She is a human but works with the vampires to achieve their goal of resurrecting the Red God. Although her motivation is shrouded in mystery, Miss Fulcanelli is still prone to some classic supervillian tropes like monologuing long enough to allow the hero to escape. Still, her eagerness to assist the vampires will be another piece to the big puzzle the writers are shaping for the future. I like how bits and pieces of plot material are littered in each issue of Baltimore. They provide clues to the final outcome as the reader unravels the vampire mystery with the protagonist. For example, the Infernal train is revealed to have a more sinister purpose then helping cities deal with the vampire epidemic. Although it does not have the epic scale of Magnola’s earlier works like Hellboy, the Baltimore series has a great narrative structure and deep character development at its foundation.
HORDES OF VAMPIRE ARTWORK
Ben Stenback continues to set the dark tone of Baltimore with his inky monotone artwork. The artist’s eastern European settings and post-World War I scenery provide an excellent backdrop for the hordes of vampires plaguing Budapest. I like Ben Stenback’s depiction of vampires. These feral, mindlessly hungry creatures of the night are a nice throwback to the classic vampire mythology. Some of the best parts in this issue are the fight scenes. Not only are readers treated to a fight between Baltimore and Duvic, there is also a massive battle for survival against the vampire swarm that surrounds them in the hotel. The fights are cinematic and gruesome, leaping off the pages with gore or blood. The artist also does not waste background characters, as they are mercilessly killed panel by panel.
BOTTOM LINE: VAMPIRE HUNTING NEVER LOOKED BETTER
This issue balances a solid, high fantasy horror narrative with artwork that sets the bleak tone of the setting. Mike Magnola and Christopher Golden establish a wonderfully dreary protagonist with Lord Henry Baltimore. As his hunt for Hiagus continues, the anti-hero unravels a sinister plot behind the vampire epidemic. If you like horror adventures, Baltimore: The Infernal Train is a great read.