Lady Baltimore: The Witch Queens #4 Review

by Nick Devonald on June 23, 2021

Writers: Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden
Artist: Bridgit Connell
Colours: Michelle Madsen
Letters: Clem Robins

With the penultimate issue in Lady Baltimore events are really reaching boiling point and it sets the finale up to be an epic battle to rival anything seen so far in the Outerverse. The last issue (re)introduced readers to Josef the Golem, immortalised as a statue and protecting the city of Ĉeskŷ Krumlov by his mere presence. As the evil Nazi’s gather more power so to do this forces of good, long departed from the world, find their presence once more requested. It feels as if the forces are aligning for a true battle of the titans. Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden have included so much to take in and digest in this one issue. The pair give us revelations aplenty, alongside several twists and turns which are guaranteed to catch readers by surprise, almost nothing in this issue is quite as it first appears. One thing is for sure though, it’ll have readers on the edge of their seats from the first page to the last. How the finale will play out could go in any direction, but it’s clear it will lay the groundwork for the next chapter in the Outerverse. The titles are coming thick and fast and it’s an exciting time to be a Mignola fan.

One of the strengths of Baltimore as a series is the fact that none of the characters ever felt truly safe. With the exception of Baltimore himself everyone else was potential cannon fodder, and fan favourite characters could, and did, die. This transfers over to this generation of stories as well, and it adds an extra layer of tension to the series. And this isn’t typical comic deaths, where they will be back in a month or so. No, characters have a tendency to stay dead in this universe. It’s refreshing and it makes every death hit hard as a result. Conversely the one part of the series that wasn’t quite gelling was the suggestion that Baltimore’s spirit might be lingering on. It wasn’t in keeping with the earlier series, and it almost cheapens Sofia becoming the protagonist if Baltimore then comes back to life. Throughout the series references have been made to Baltimore which have prevented her standing on her own two feet. This issue handles it really well, while the answers aren’t definitive (are they ever in Mignola comics?) it’s tackled head on in a satisfactory way.

The other thing that this series has done really well has been the villains. Some are new, others are returning from Baltimore, but it’s given readers a whole host of characters to hate. And they feel like such an overpowering, malovelent force, it’s difficult to fathom how our handful of heroes could challenge them and win. Such high stakes, the knowledge that any of our heroes could die at any point, and when Mignola is penning a story there is no guarantee of a happy ending, all of these combine to tell some fantastic storytelling.

Bridgit Connell’s art has been a hit from page one of the series, some of her creature designs have been incredibly inspired, and there are even more here to delight readers. The different kinds of witches are each suitably menacing in their own right and their looks tell as much of their story as anything else. The combat, when it arrives, brings home the stakes and feels frantic. This helps to push the stakes of the series even further. Then there Michelle Madsen’s colours, the glue holding the different artistic elements of the entire Outerverse together.

As penultimate issues go the stakes have never felt higher. As the first chapter in the new Outerverse the groundwork being laid here is incredible. The mythology of the Outerverse is rich, the storytelling epic, the art is inspired, Mignola fans rejoice for the beginning of another outstanding universe filled with the kind of deep, layered storytelling we've come to expect from the master.

Our Score:


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