Baltimore: The Red Kingdom #3
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Artist: Peter Bergting
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Cover: Ben Stenbeck
The team may be back together but the chemistry between them just isn’t the same. There’s still bitterness at Baltimore for his two year absence along with the questioning of Rigo’s loyalty to the cause. These are just some of the great tonal moments that Mignola and Golden scatter in this latest chapter in the final battle to destroy the Red King. It’s also this fracture in the group that makes this issue even more compelling. Because for all of their issues and mistrust, Baltimore himself knows that he’s just as much a pawn as they are but the Red King needs to be destroyed at any cost.
Mignola and Golden quickly start the action in this issue as the group comes under vampire attack so their gripes with each other are tabled for a moment. It’s a visceral scene that breaks up the exposition and who doesn’t love a little flesh ripping and vampire annihilation? Now being that this is the midpoint of the series most of the issue reads like the calm before the storm. Quietly building on the tension of the team but the real standout is when the Red King and Madame Blavatsky enter the story. It’s a telling moment concerning the villain but is heightened from the dark and moody to the macabre via Michelle Madson’s colors that sync with Bergting’s art. These visuals capture the mood of the story perfectly as Bergting nails all of the beats along the way. The sequences involving the Red King have a fiery color palette that brings a different level of intensity to the pages and puts the Coronation Day sequence over the top.
It’s issues like this that remind you how good the Baltimore series has been and with a cliffhanger this strong you’ll want the next issue right now!