One Mad Dog

[Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships – H/C] – (Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, Ben Stenbeck)
October 7, 2011, 9:09 pm
Filed under: 9 stars, Ben Stenbeck, Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola

This hard cover collects the “Baltimore Plague Ships” comic book series issues 1 to 5 with some extras.

“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.”

Baltimore has the same look and feel as BPRD and is instantly recognizable as a Mike Mignola creation.  It has a bit of a Van Helsing or Solomon Kane feel to it but it is set in an alternative history after the first World War. The setting is perfectly rendered  and the story grips you from start to finish.  I love how they merged the idea of medieval plague into an early 1900’s war torn backdrop and threw in a bit of steam punk horror to garnish the mix.  I can wait for the next collection to find out what happens in Baltimore’s search for the elusive vampire and hopefully the answers to many other questions that this cracking first collection raised.

Ben Stenbeck’s artwork is perfect for the subject matter and has a fantastic atmosphere to it. He has a strange technique of not drawing feet or legs on far away characters that sometimes looks a bit odd but gives the book a quirky character. The color palette is the same as many of Mignola’s work but I have absolutely no problem with that.  I will definitely be looking out for more of his work.

Baltimore is a must read book for fans of Mignola and this hardcover version is worth the extra money. ISBN-13: 978-1595826732. 9/10

[Hack/Slash Omnibus, Vol.1] – (Tim Seeley, Stefano Caselli, Federica Manfredi, Aadi Salman, Dave Crosland, Skottie Young, Sean Dove, Mike Norton, Mark Englert, Nate Bellegarde, Andy Kuhn,Joe Largent, Josh Medors, Mike O’Sullivan, Matt Merhoff)

Hack/Slash is a book based on slasher movies where Cassie Hack and her giant assistant Vlad go round destroying slashers. The book is written by Tim Seeley and features many different artists which means that there is a huge variety in styles between the stories. Omnibus 1 contains the following stories:

  • “Euthanized” with art by Stefano Caselli.
  • “Girls gone Wild” with art by Federica Manfredi.
  • “Comic Book Carnage” with art by Federica Manfredi.
  • “Hack/Slash Evil Ernie” with art by Aadi Salman.
  • “Land of Lost Toys”  with art by Dave Crosland.
  • “Slice Hard” with art by Tim Seeley, Mark Englert, Nate Bellegarde, Andy Kuhn and Joe Largent .
  • “Slashing Through the Snow” a poem with art by Mike O’Sullivan.
  • “Hack/Slash vs Chucky” with art by Matt Merhoff.
Hack/Slash Trailers:
  • “Blood and Nuts”  with art by Skottie Young.
  • “Renegade Knife: Itai!” with art by Sean Dove.
  • “Tub Club” with art by Tim Seeley.
  • “Orbituary” with art by Mike Norton.
  • “Dead Celebrities” with art by Stefano Caselli.
  • “Once Bitten” with art by Josh Medors.

I bought this book based on good reviews rather than the content.  I grew out of slasher movies after the first Chucky and Nightmare on Elm Steet. The only recent ones I have watched was the Jeepers Creepers series and that was quite a while ago. I think this is why the book didn’t really  impress me very much.  Its not a bad book by any means and the main characters are likable but ultimately it is not a series I would buy any more books in.

My favorite stories were “Girls Gone Wild”, “Slice hard” and “Hack/Slash vs Chucky” and all three of these were fun reads. The only story I didn’t really enjoy was “Hack/Slash Evil Ernie” where the art, layout and lettering all got in the way of the story for me.

The art in Omnibus 1 is a bit of a mixed bag but I enjoyed the artwork of Stefano Caselli, Federica Manfredi, Skottie Young, Mike Norton and Matt Merhof.  The only artists work that really wasn’t to my taste was  Aadi Salman that I didn’t like at all. The artwork in “Land of Lost Toys” was also a bit inconsistent but overall pleasing to the eye. “Slice Hard” was an unusual story in that there were very obvious artist changed between pages . It was almost as if the story switched from HD to SD at times.  I don’t know which artist did which page but I liked some more than others and i am not a fan of mixing artists in a story.

Hack/Slash Omnibus, Vol.1 has a huge selection of covers, pinup art and other extras that are well worth a look.  Overall the book is a good buy if you are a fan of “Slasher” Movies but even non fans of the genre should find something to enjoy. ISBN-13: 978-1607062738. 6/10