Something Ain’t Right in Wainwright

The X-Files/30 Days of Night #1
Written by Steve Niles & Adam Jones
Art by Tom Mandrake

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It’s been a while since I’ve given any thought to The X-Files. I loved the show (until David Duchovny left), and the movies weren’t too bad either. I wish I could say the same about 30 Days of Night, however. I’ve never read the comics, except for the first 1 or 2 issues, and the movie was pretty bland. But the idea behind it, vampires using the cover of a month long darkness to feed, is very intriguing. Mix the two franchises together, and it has the potential to be a great recipe.

The story opens two weeks into the darkness in Wainwright, Alaska. “Patches” Brown is out plowing the streets in vain, as a blizzard ravages the landscape. Interspersed among the panels of Patches, we see a shadow speed through the blowing snow, nothing visible but sharp claws. Patches (whose real name is Henry-Lee) is lost in thought, unaware of anything except the road, and his plow, until he comes upon a horrible scene. A dozen or more trucks. All wrecked, with splatters of blood everywhere.  Naturally, curiosity gets the better of him, and he explores the wreckage. But what he’s seen is nothing compared to what he finds next. The decapitated bodies of the truckers, suspended on a pole. Heads lying at the base, while the blowing snow slowly covers their faces. This introduction sets the stage for what is a wonderfully drawn, and wonderfully written first issue.

The atmosphere is beautifully realized, with the foreboding tone of a pitch dark blizzard in Alaska offset by the fun, and often chuckle-out-loud repartee between Mulder and Scully. An example being a scene where Scully is already on the ground, as Mulder hops out of a helicopter, only wearing his usual suit and tie.

“Hello, Scully. It’s really cold here.”

“It’s Alaska, Mulder.”

It’s this kind of writing that really draws me in to these characters, and their world. Everything seems near pitch-perfect. Scully, as usual, only wants to find the truth, shushing Mulder until substantial evidence can be found. Fox, of course, instantly thinks of howling creatures and anything else outside the norm that can explain the murders. Oh, how right he is.

As far as secondary characters are concerned, aside from Patches, there aren’t very many. We’re introduced to Federal Agent Daniel French, “Frenchy” to Mulder. It’s obvious from the outset that these two aren’t exactly friends. French fills the dickhead, holier than thou role very well. I instantly loved to hate him, and I look forward to seeing him make life miserable for our beloved team. Well, maybe I want to see him get pulled apart by vampires a little bit more. Either way, I’ll be happy. Oh, and the vampires show up too, making a bad day just a little worse for poor Patches.

The artwork by Tom Mandrake also fits well with what’s going on with the plot. Having never heard of Mandrake before this series, I came in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. There’s nothing flashy here. No action set pieces, or crazy explosions. Just well drawn characters conveying fear, anger, and gleeful murderous intent (in the vampires that is) with ease. The backgrounds are essentially non-existent, but it totally works within the context. It’s perpetual night and there’s snow on the ground, what would you see anyway? If there is one thing I could nitpick on, it would be the coloring. It’s not bad at all, just unnecessary. I might be in the minority of most modern comic book readers, but I don’t think full color pages are always the way to go. A black and white layout here would have worked much better in my eyes, making what already feels like noir horror that much more so.

All in all, this is a great start to what I hope be a fun adventure with my favorite FBI agents. And it’s only running for 6 issues, giving me more hope that everything will stay this good throughout. I’ll definitely be at my comic shop next month, picking up issue #2.

I want to believe,
Kurt

We Masters! We run Bartertown!

Well, here we go.

Welcome to Master Blasters. A place where the two of us can sound off on video games, movies, comics, and anything else we want to talk about. And you’ll like it, or we’ll find you.

So, welcome! Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. It’s sure to be… entertaining. If only in that ‘watching a train wreck’ kind of way.

Until next time,

D and K