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X-Files / 30 Days of Night #3

Posted: Tuesday, September 28, 2010
By: Michael Deeley

Steve Niles & Adam Jones
Tom Mandrake, Darlene Royer (c)
Wildstorm / IDW
This is turning out to be the best X-Files comics book I've ever read. That includes many of the Topps Comics series from the '90s and the recent mini-series from Wildstorm.

On the surface, a crossover between X-Files and 30 Days of Night makes perfect sense. Mulder and Scully, FBI agents who specialize supernatural cases, come to an Alaskan town to investigate a series of grisly murders. The state of the corpses leads Mulder to suspect vampires are about. It's not until this issue that our heroes confront an actual vampire. They survive the attack only to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Meanwhile, the vampires add to the body count and their numbers.

I've been re-watching X-Files lately. Comparing the comic to the show, I can say with confidence that Niles an Jones have captured the characters almost perfectly. The playful banter between Mulder and Scully, Mulder's wild theorizing with a hint of self-deprecation, Scully's serious attitude, it's all there. The comic reads just like a viewing of the TV show. My only complaint is how stiffly Scully talks to the helicopter pilots late in the issue. It sounds unnatural coming from anybody. But in her case, it makes her seem more stiff and formal around low brow petty thieves. You'd think she'd be used to such people from growing up on Naval bases!

I've never read a 30 Days of Night comic, so I can't say how it compares to this comic. But since the original comic was created by Steve Niles, I'll assume it's true to the source. I have seen the 30 Days movie. If the comic was anything like the film, we wouldn't be talking about either one.

Tom Mandrake's art has been perfect for the story. It's moody, creepy, and suitably dark. The pacing is just slow enough to create an atmosphere of danger. The people look real and the vampires look monstrous. The exterior scenes of the snow covered plains convey the feeling of isolation and emptiness essential to this particular story. Mandrake is one of a handful of artists working today that I'd consider perfect for horror comics.

If you're waiting for the trade on this book, I don't blame you. But it is worth buying now.



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