written by Steve Niles
illustrated by Ben Templesmith
IDW Publishing (2007)
I thought 30 Days of Night was a great graphic novel, with a film adaptation that complimented it quite well. I don't hold such high hopes for Dark Days after seeing the trailer for the film adaption to this sequel. I may skip the movie altogether, lest it ruin what was another entertaining vampire story from Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.
If you haven't read 30 Days of Night, there's going to be a couple of spoilers for that book revealed. So, maybe check out my review of the book, then decide if it's something you would be interested in.
As for Dark Days, it picks up well after the slaughter that occurred in Barrow, Alaska inside the pages of 30 Days of Night. Stella Olemaun, widow of Sheriff Eben Olemaun, has left Barrow and started her hunt for any and all vampires. They live in secret, shrouded by their own myth so no one believes in them. Stella has written a book recounting the Barrow massacre and is on a book tour, with her first stop being Los Angeles. She's tracked a pocket of them there and, along with her small but dedicated security detail, plans to flush them out.
On the other side of the coin is one of the elder vampires, incensed by her actions. A widow herself to one of the lead vampires killed in Barrow, he stalks Stella to exact her own measure of revenge.
The story, for me, loses some of its mystique compared to the isolation depicted in 30 Days of Night. Los Angeles, while a logical spot for vampires to lurk, doesn't feel unique as a setting. The characters and their interactions help make up for that, as Stella struggles with her mission when she learns her publisher is releasing her book as fiction, turning her into a bit of a laughing stock in the eyes of the real world.
The artwork of Templesmith comes off as frenetic and gives such a rabid tone to the subject matter, the city in which the story takes place is almost immaterial, because the characters--especially the vampires--practically jump off the page in all their gruesome glory. There's a sketchbook and charcoal quality to the pictures that just seem tailor-made for a vampire tale.
Overall, an entertaining book, and the expansion on the mthos kept me engaged the whole way through. It might not be a grand slam like the first graphic novel was, but it does well to carry on the story, and even offers hints at what the third volume might have in store.