Sunday, July 18, 2010

The X-Files/30 Days of Night #1 (of 6)

Steve Niles, Adam Jones & Tom Mandrake

You couldn't ask for a more appropriate pairing than this.  An ingenious melding of two distinct titles, crossing over The X-Files and 30 Days of Night, supernatural properties from IDW and Wildstorm.  While The X-Files hails from a television show about two FBI agents who specialize in paranormal investigation, 30 Days of Night is a straight-up horror comic book that began in the isolated Alaskan town of Barrow while, for 30 days and nights, the sun doesn't rise over the harsh environment.  Vampires took advantage of this period of darkness for an all-out party buffet.  Steve Niles, who co-created that original mini-series, co-writes this book.  In this title, another Alaskan town is having the same issue as Barrow, and after a snow plow uncovers a graveyard of trashed semi-trucks, and the bodies that accompany it, the local government contacts the FBI, and Scully and Mulder are flown out.  Most of the investigators on the case suspect a serial killer, but there are very peculiar things about the trophy bodies that seem impossible for a human to commit.  And so Mulder ponders a supernatural theory, while Scully, his more scientific-minded colleague, tries to smooth things over and be diplomatic with a competing investigative team.  This is a pretty neat mystery that's been laid out for Mulder and Scully, pretty freaky with plenty of things for them to sort out.  But so far, it's kind of inconsequential that this involves the 30 Days of Night property.  Sure, there are the parallels between that story and what's occurring here, but they haven't done enough in the first issue to really show off the vampires themselves, except for an absurd final page that looks like it belongs in Tales From the Crypt.  It very much feels like an X-Files comic and I'm afraid that the compelling characters from that series might overwhelm the other property, especially as their voices have pretty much been nailed here.  The art gets the job done, and gets across the physical resemblances of the actors who played the agents in the show, but honestly, it's not very exciting.  I have to constantly remind myself that it's night time because the snow is so bright in the panels and it's too well lit to really show off the darkness, even with the white-speckled black air above the ground.  Despite a compelling opening scene, I have to say that I'm a little disappointed so far, especially when the title delves into silliness so early, undercutting the creeping atmosphere that is set up earlier.

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