Title: 30 Days of Night: Omnibus Vol. 1

Publisher: IDW

Writers: Steve Niles

Artist: Ben Templesmith

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Eric Stuckart

Bleak and sparse, 30 Days of Night is the type of vampire story that should be told more often. Rather than try too hard by showing a lot of flash and overdoing the action, it broods. It breathes its icy black breath on every page. And the pages are dark as they come. It doesn’t have to try; it gets its point across just by being, making it quite the page turner.

In this colllection, the first three stories of the 30 Days saga are included, the self-titled first story, along with sequels Dark Days and Return to Barrow. With the first story, the duo of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith had something terrifyingly special on their hands. The story is simple. In the quiet Alaskan town of Barrow, a group of vampires comes up with a plan that no vampire has ever tried before. They decide to drop in on the townsfolk during the short period between November 18 and December 17 when the sun doesn’t rise — the titular 30 days of night. Without a sun coming up to make the vampires return to hiding for a month, Barrow becomes a free-for-all, an all-you-can-eat buffet for the vampires. This is the story of how those townsfolk fight back. (more…)


#8 Alan Wake (360)

Publisher: Microsoft – Developer: Remedy

Our Review

Back in 2005, the same year Microsoft debuted the Xbox 360, Remedy announced Alan Wake was in development. This year, gamers were finally given a chance to visit the world of Bright Falls, and it was well worth the wait. While the game provides a truly suspenseful experience, it has more in common with a season of X-Files than the Silent Hill or Resident Evil series. (more…)


Title: “The Signal” DLC for Alan Wake

Platform: 360

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: Remedy

Review by: Bill Jones

“The Signal” picks up right where Alan Wake left fans at the end of the core game. We get a recap of the entire first game in one of those television style “Last time on…” vignettes, and then we find ourselves back in Wake’s shoes, in the first of a two-part “Special.”

Assuming anyone reading this has already played the game (and therefore won’t find this to be a spoiler), the ending of Alan Wake left a lot of questions up in the air, though to be fair the game told us up front it was going to do just that. After Wake’s rewritten ending apparently brought his wife back, but wrote himself out as a matter of balance, fans will want to know what exactly happened to him. “The Signal” doesn’t offer any concrete answers, but it’s dancing around them. (more…)


Title: Alan Wake

Platform: 360


Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: Remedy

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Bill Jones

Alan Wake opens with a reference to Stephen King about nightmares existing outside of logic, and a short monologue on horror fiction. The voice is that of the title character, Alan Wake, and he explains that in a horror story, the victim always keeps asking, “Why?” But an answer is rarely ever given, and should not be. Similar the opening scenes of A Serious Man, the point is that gamers should “accept the mystery,” because it’s often these unanswered mysteries are the ones that stay with us the longest. This sets the stage for the first several episodes of Alan Wake.

It should also be noted that as these words pour over the speakers, the video takes gamers swooping through the landscape of the small town of Bright Falls, Wash., and its centerpiece mountains and Cauldron Lake. The opening credits come from the shadows and then dissipate into black smoke. The landscape is on the verge of sunset, and the sky is hazy. This also sets the stage for the first several episodes of Alan Wake. (more…)


Title: Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles

Platform: Wii


Publisher: Capcom

Developer: Capcom

Rating: ★★★½☆

Review by: Dan Braun

Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles is a rail shooter that offers fairly solid gameplay, and lovingly re-explores two titles in the RE franchise from a very different perspective. The game begins with Leon Kennedy and Jack Krauser exploring South America in search of a drug lord with ties to the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. From there, the game follows its standard convoluted narrative, and somehow backtracks through both RE2 and RE: Code Veronica. It is a fairly accurate recreation of both games, as many famous scenes and events are wholly intact, the only difference being that players are guided through the game without all the unnecessary exploring and backtracking that is so familiar to the RE franchise. Darkside a pretty straightforward shoot-em-up with a decent arsenal and impressive graphics for the Wii. The only real problem is that the game’s camera is often ridiculously shaky, providing for some frustrating sequences. With more than 10 hours of gameplay to offer, Darkside Chronicles will keep fans of the genre busy. (more…)


Title: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

Publisher: DC

Writer: Steve Niles

Artist: Kelley Jones

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Review by: Thomas Braaksma

DC Comics really needs to rethink its approach to which writers and artists can get their hands on the publisher’s most beloved characters, such as Batman and Superman. There are some recent interpretations of these characters by Jim Lee, Jeph Loeb, Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison that might have raised the bar on retelling these heroes’ classic tales. But then there are people like Steve Niles and Kelley Jones who take Batman and throw him into an adulterated version of Gotham that never should have seen the light of day. Even with Niles’ track record in the horror genre (30 Days of Night), this book shows how little respect can be shown to the story of one of the greatest heroes of our time.

Batman: Gotham After Midnight is another attempt to see how many of Batman’s villains can be crammed into one storyline, and in a twist sees how many holidays can be weaved into the plot as well (Halloween and Christmas, maybe). As usual, the story also contains one mystery villain who readers haven’t heard of before. The villain this time, if almost not even attempting any originality, is called Midnight. And yes, bad things happen after the clock strikes midnight. That is the writer’s attempt at cleverness with the title Batman: Gotham After Midnight. The rest of the story isn’t really worth getting into, except that the plot is a haphazard attempt to throw Catwoman, Clayface, Killer Croc, Man-Bat, Scarecrow and, of course, the Joker into the plot. (more…)


Title: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

Platform: 360 (Also on PS3, PC)

ESRB Rating: M

Publisher: Warner Bros.

Developer: Monolith Productions

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review: Dan Braun

If quick zooms, light filters, and greasy-haired, naked teenagers are still frightening, then F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin has the market on gaming horror cornered. If not, it is just a sub-par game with technical proficiency, but nothing notable to commend. (more…)