Friday, January 06, 2006

30 Days of Night: a brief review

This year I'm actually going to try to put some comics related stuff in this blog. I figured I'd start with a book which received a lot of attention and appears to have made the writer one of the current hot creators in the industry.

30 Days of Night (IDW) - I read this in the trade paper edition which includes the mini-series and extra stuff, like writer Steven Niles' original script. It is easy to see why the book proved so popular and the fact that it has been optioned for a feature film proves that it caught more then passing fanboy interest. I recall reading that there is or will be sequels which take place in the same world as this, if not featuring the same characters, since only a few of the principles in this story survive the assault and final confrontations.

To be honest, I didn't find anything particularly original beyond the initial set up. The idea of a tribe of vampires taking over a small Alaskan town during a period of sunless days is something I had not read before, but my vampire reading may be more limited than yours. Sadly, once that bit of business begins there isn't a lot else except for graphic violence and a claustrophobic feeling. The art by Ben Templesmith is of the Bill Sienkiewicz (circa STRAY TOASTERS) school of 'dark, scary and difficult to interpret.' I have to be honest and say that there were several scenes so dark and ARTISTIC that I had no clue what was going on nor who was doing what to whom. With such a large number of characters, many of whom are not even given names, it would have been nice if there was some way to identify them. Also, since we don't know the people in town we can't feel anything when they are killed. They remind you of the citizens of Tokyo stomped by Godzilla and his co-horts, being simply faceless victims not important to the plot.

There are some nice touches in the married couple, Eban & Stella who happen to be the town sheriffs. They have a good relationship and it's this rather than the mayhem taking place outside that really carries the only impact the story has. Fans of this book can only hope that the eventual film adaptation have actors good enough, with some kind of on-screen chemistry, to make the characters work.

I'll give it two stars and recommend you borrow it from your neighborhood library or a friend. Give it another star if you're really into this type of thing. As they say your milage may vary.
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