Tuesday, May 06, 2008

30 Days of Night: Red Snow – review

Written by: Ben Templesmith

Illustrated by: Ben Templesmith

First published: 2008

Contains spoilers

The eighth graphic novel set in the 30 Days of Night universe is somewhat of a departure as it goes back in time to the Second World War and, as such, is fairly stand alone.

Of course the concept of vampires in World War Two, specifically stationed on the Eastern Front, is nothing new. 2000AD had a comic strip based on just this premise and that was turned into a novel trilogy called Fiends of the Eastern Front. Regular readers will recall that I was less than impressed with the novels.

This succeeds were the 2000 AD novels failed. The story in itself is simple, British military attaché Corporal Charlie Keating is sent as an observer to the Red Army, a posting deemed appropriate as he has a fully working knowledge of both Russian and German languages. The squad he is with come under attack by an SS squad, who in turn come under attack by vampires. The two warring factions must put their difference aside in order to survive the vampiric onslaught.

Thereafter it is pretty much survival horror and the whole thing rockets along nicely. The fact that Templesmith illustrated the story meant that we knew that visually the graphic was going to work. The simple and yet tight little story, with worthwhile characterisation, proved that Templesmith is more than just a good artist and cemented, for me, his credibility as a writer also.

Many thanks to Ian, who got me both this volume and 30 Days of Night: Eben & Stella.

A very worthy addition to the 30 Days cannon. 8 out of 10.

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