steve niles

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…)

steve niles

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…)