Dark Days
by Steve Niles,
Ben Templesmith
(IDW, 2004)

Stella Olemaun is one of the few survivors of the tragedy in Barrow, Alaska, when a horde of vampires descended on the small northern town to take bloody advantage of the 30-day-long night that marks the middle of winter. Stella has lived through unimaginable horrors, the worst of which was the willing sacrifice of her husband in a last-ditch, albeit successful attempt to defeat the vampires for good.

Now, Stella is in Los Angeles, trading cold and dark for sunny and hot, and she wants to spread the word about vampires -- that they exist, for one, and how to kill them. Her book on the Barrow experience is a popular seller, but it's marketed as fiction, not nonfiction as she hoped, and vampires are a hard sell to modern readers. Of course, the vampires prefer their relative anonymity -- discovering that they're real is usually followed immediately by a violent death -- so they're not keen on letting Stella spread the word.

Of course, they're also not happy that she's assembled a team that's getting pretty good at killing their kind.

Dark Days is a solid sequel to the landmark graphic novel, Thirty Days of Night. However, the story is far less interesting. While the vampires are every bit as bloody, horrible and downright messy as they were before, the story has lost its punch by moving from remote Barrow to thriving Los Angeles ... which is more the jurisdiction of Buffy, anyway.

But so far as vampire stories go -- and I've read enough to be a fair judge -- Dark Days is a good tale, with plenty of action, tension and spraying gore. I'll certainly be watching for the third book in the series, which takes the story back to Barrow.

by Tom Knapp
19 August 2006

Buy it from Amazon.com.