By Steve Niles and Adam Jones (writers), Tom Mandrake (art), Darlene Royer (colors), Ed Dukeshire (letters)
The Story: Mulder and Scully continue their investigation into the de-blooded and de-headed corpsicles that seem to be appearing all over Barrow, Alaska. Scully runs through several scientifically viable theories, while Mulder solidifies his belief in a single, naturally far more supernatural, explanation. Sound like the formula for anyone else’s favorite TV show of all time? ‘Cause it does mine!
What’s Good: The first issue of this series was pretty darn good, and this one builds nicely on the success of its predecessor. There is a lot less vampire action—a lot less, actually—but since I came to this book almost entirely to watch the exploits of my two favorite FBI Agents, that didn’t bother me in the slightest. (And honestly, even if the lack of vampire gore distresses you, I can almost guarantee it’ll pick right back up again in #3.) Although you’d think Niles’ focus would remain pretty firmly fixed on the 30 Days of Night aspects of this book, both he and Jones do an exceptional job of capturing Mulder and Scully’s voices. Sure it’s not quite the same without Duchovny and Anderson’s practiced delivery and rapport, but it’s still very witty and rings very true to the characters.
I’m pretty picky about art in my X-files books. I know a comic can’t perfectly recreate the mood of the show I loved, or perfectly capture the likenesses of the actors I watched week in and week out, but Mandrake makes a hell of an effort here. He does a lot of the little things right; facial expressions (Mulder’s impish grin and Scully’s trademark looks of exasperation are particularly well done), use of light and shadow, and creative panel layout all lead to an above-average visual experience. It’s not groundbreaking, but it works.
What’s Not So Good: The only real complaint—if you can call it that—I have is that the plot slows down quite a bit here. If issue #1 was all about the vampires and the carnage they’re capable of inflicting, this issue is all about our two human heroes and the detective work they put in order to uncover the nature of the threat facing the town. As a fan of the characters this aspect of the book was nothing but a pleasure for me, but if you’re in this for the vampire action it could be a disappointing 32 pages.
Conclusion: This was a brilliant crossover idea and, at two issues in, has so far been executed very well indeed. Niles, Jones and Mandrake do an excellent job of capturing the old “X-Files” feeling, and (I’m sure) will jump right back into the vampire action next issue. An absolute must read for fans of The X-files or 30 Days of Night; anyone else may well find a good time and fun story here, but it would hardly be considered required monthly reading.