Review: Baltimore: The Inquisitor (One-Shot)
The Inquisition of early-modern European historical fame is reborn in vampire-plagued Eastern Europe near the end of the First World War. From Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden, this Baltimore one-shot continues the wild-west-esque adventures of vampire hunter Lord Henry Baltimore across Eastern Europe. Baltimore has been the star of four other one-shots and three mini-series, and he’s a wonderful addition to the Mignolaverse.
The inquisitor really isn’t about Baltimore, though, but instead focuses on the titular character, a Jesuit arm of the reborn Inquisition and a Frenchman, Judge Patrice Duvic. He’s an unblinking force of the Church, determined to smite Hodge for his writings about vampires and to confront—and purge—Lord Baltimore of his evil. In this deranged Inquisitor’s opinion, acquaintanceship with vampires, even as a slayer, is only fit for those ordained by God; the flesh is always tainted, but painful purification saves the soul!
Stenbeck and Stewart provide the classic Mignolaverse milieu for the dark, richly metaphorical dialogue that paints rampant vampirism across the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a parable for the Empire’s economic and civil strife during 1917, just a year before their ultimate defeat and governmental dissolution. Mingola and Golden create the Inquisitor as a vicious, self-righteous, self-flagelleting priest that reminds me of Les Miserables’s irredeemable Javert. Baltimore’s presence book-ends the central story, and a violent confrontation is presaged.
I can hardly imagine a more exciting way to combine World War I, vampires, the Inquisition, and witches than this one-shot, which is well-worth the time. Baltimore really is one of those rare characters whose books you have to wait months for, but which always pay off as a visual and narrative odyssey.
Story: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden Art: Ben Stenbeck
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.