For those who don’t know, over these last few years, 30 days of Night has been one of IDW’s biggest cash-cows. Normally I’ve stayed away from the fray of shit they fling out, as Eben and Stella was all right, but not too good. I think they should have stopped with Return to Barrow, but even I’m a big enough of a sucker of Ben Templesmith’s amazing art to return for Red Snow.
Unfortunately, following Red Snow was the god awful “Beyond Barrow”…but we’ll get to that another day.
Red Snow #1
Written and Art: Ben Templesmith for all 3 issues.
While I’m not above a good laugh at a dancing Hitler with a fish, I’ve come to see Nazi’s as one of the ultimate evils of the world. So a story in which Nazi’s are both protagonists and antagonists sounds pretty cool.
Really, the first chapter is exactly what you’d think it’d be. We establish the characters and the time period very well, we get a hint at some vampires, then at the end the vampires come out to play. It’s nothing new that we haven’t seen before, but still, Templesmith does a good job here and well establishes the characters. I especially take a liking to the Englishman, whom I can only figure is our main character. He’s proper, nice, but badass when he needs to be. The perfect horror movie hero.
We are also introduced to a nice little Jewish family hiding from the Nazi’s. While I don’t mind the characters, the second we see them it’s obvious that they are Vampire chow. All except one, of course.
We get Nazi bastards being Nazi Bastards and some good use of dialog from the current time. All in all, a strong opening chapter.
I honestly can’t think of what to say here. The dialog is fine but nothing sticks out compared to last time where we got some funny jokes and witty moments. Here it’s basically vampires attack. While it makes for some great violent moments, nothing stands out until the final few pages.
Here, the last surviving child of the vampire killed family is forced to shoot his mother as she starts to turn into a vampire. What could have been a cheesy “I don’t wanna!” cry wah, wah moment, turns out to be very well done and I liked how Templesmith took the high road by making the child force back the tears and man up. It’s not something we see every day in the horror genre so I applaud Templesmith with this. The single tear rolling down the child’s eye as he curses the vampires is great.
The Nazi’s continue to be absolute ass-holes. The big head honcho Nazi of course, as the cover shows us gets his ear blown off. Oddly enough one of the more satisfying moments for me as a reader.
So to wrap this part up, the second chapter is a fine read but not too shabby.
Story comments: All right, this is where things really dominate. This alone could have been the entire story really. Tensions run high as the Nazi’s and Russians are disagreeing at every turn. They both need the other to survive and Templesmith captures the perfect note of a survival horror story with this tension.
We see a lot of backstabbing and twists as far as who kills who, mostly from the Nazi’s who just hate each other now. It all becomes one mad dash to this large car that can get them out of there. There is an army of vampires caving in and, as one would expect, hardly anyone gets out alive.
The final conflict builds on the car as the Englishman and Nazi general battle it out as a vampire tries to take out the driver. I enjoyed this fight scene, despite how little I really cared. Though the final moments are priceless as you where just waiting to see that Nazi get his ass kicked.
After the Englishman gets infected accidentally, he has the boy kill him and the boy and the Russian driver (who was also a great character) get away safely. The final page as the Nazi general rising from the ground as vampires surround him. He coughs, holds up his knife and says “Lets get this over with then.” Easily line of the year for me, the sheer idea of still standing and ready to take them on…with a knife…pure greatness.
He also excels at his character work like always. I enjoy the character designs and looks and how he sticks true to the time period of WW2. Outside of Wormwood Gentleman Corpse, this is some of Templesmith’s best work ever.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
Again, apologies for this being late. But better late than never. Tomorrow expect the next edition of the Andrenn Channel, and coming up sometime soon, a review of Megaman 9!