Sunday, October 12, 2008

Comic Report Card: 30 Days Of Night: Red Snow

‘Tis the season to love and Cheri-oh what? Well I figured since this book has the title snow in it that it’s about Christmas…it’s not? Vampires? Nazi’s? Seriously? Sweet.

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.

Story comments: I’d have to say that of all my favorite periods of time in American History to study over the years has been World War 2. Not necessarily for the war, truth be told, I never cared much about that. More about the Holocaust and the Nazi regime. Something about this has always fascinated me and tugged at my heart strings to learn more about it.

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.

Art comments are being saved for the very end. Sorry.

Score: 7 out of 10

Part 2

Story comments: Hilarity ensues as Vampires attack, Nazi’s team up with the Russians, the family gets killed (shock) and to put it simply: Shit hits the fan, HARD.

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.

7 out of 10

Part 3

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.

Art comments: I am very much a big fan of Ben Templesmith’s art and his work here is nothing short of great as always. It’s his very triumphant return to 30 days of Night and he doesn’t leave any bullet unused in this barrel of awesome. I enjoy the wicked look of his vampires and the details into them; they all look like a wall of teeth and hungry eyes, and it’s great.

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.

9 out of 10


Final Comments: If your in the mood for a great vampire book than you can’t go wrong with most of the 30 days of Night stories. However, Red Snow is one of the true to horror comics out there that doesn’t go the odd route like “Spreading the disease” or “Eben and Stella” did. Red Snow is a great horror story with incredible art and if you’re a vampire fan your going to love it.

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!

But until then, lock the doors and stay scared.


Templesmith said...

Thanks for the probs man. Just wanted to clarify one thing though...there were no Jews at all in the story. The family were just regular Russian peasants. The emphasis was on the fact that the war on the Easter Front was really much more brutal and total than anything the western allies had to put up with for the most part. It was truly a war of annihilation over there. There's a reason USSR lost some 30 million people in the Great Patriotic War after all.

I agree with you on most of the follow ups to 30 Days not actually being horror books. I tried. Cheers for digging it as much as you did.

Templesmith said...

Uh, "probs" should have been "props" in the first sentence...ack.

Andrenn said...

Thanks for the clarification. I myself learned mostly about it from books such as Night and from the Holocaust angle so I don't know all of the Eastern Front of WW2.

Again, I'm a big fan of your work. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future (Also, going to pick up the Dead Space HC and Welcome to Hoxford when they come out in collections)