Category Archives: Creator Owned

X-files/30 Days of Night #6

(No Spoilers)

Writer: Steve Niles & Adam Jones
Pencils: Tom Mandrake
Colors: Darlene Royer & Gabe Eltaeb
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover: Andrea Sorrentino

Well, as much as I’ve been enjoying this series, I have to say the ending left me wanting a little bit. Niles and Jones did an incredible job of building up the story to this issue but I felt like we fell into a sprint to resolve everything in this issue when I wish we would’ve had at least two more issues to wrap it all up.

I think what happened is there were a lot of good ideas but not enough time to flesh them all out. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say there’s a storyline involving a prophecy that I thought was introduced at the perfect time. It was a great set-up and was the best twist in this story. However, there was a sub-plot with the character of French that I felt distracted from the prophecy plot. French’s story really came into play last issue and I was afraid that they’d wrap it up too quickly and that’s exactly what happened. This short-changed the prophecy story in my opinion which was the better of the two.

Now overall, it’s still a great series. There were still a couple of moments in this issue where I wondered how Mulder and Scully were going to survive against such a dangerous opponent and they had some close calls. But towards the end of the issue it seems that it was all set-up for a sequel. Now, I don’t mind the last page or two setting up a sequel but again, all this set-up really took away from time that could’ve been used on the story. And I really liked this story so I didn’t want to feel short-changed here in the final issue.

Despite its shortcomings here at the end, I still think this is a great read for both X-files and 30 Days of Night fans. I plan to pass these on to a friend who’s an X-files fan and I know he’ll love them! I know the series sold really well and I’m glad it did. Niles and Jones ended up being a great collaborative team and since they made it obvious we can expect a sequel, I anticipate it will be equally as good.

7 out of 10 (Above Average)

Ides of Blood #5

“Chains” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Stuart C. Paul
Artist: Christian Duce
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Editor: Scott Peterson
Cover: Michael Geiger

This is an incredibly dense comic. I’m not talking page-length, I’m talking story-wise. It takes me a while to get through the 22 pages of story but Paul has packed so much into those pages, I feel more than full when I’m done reading. It’s a great feeling!

Things slowed down significantly in this issue but rightfully so. Our characters are on their way to cracking the mystery at the heart of this story and Paul continues to add great twists and turns; even tragic ones. I won’t say who, but let’s just say at least one character doesn’t make out of this issue. It’s so cool when a creator is not afraid to end his creations. It raises the stakes of the story and shows that no one is safe. Plus, Paul does a great job of creating great characters in such a short amount of screen time. It actually sucked when I saw this character die. That’s great story-telling!

If I had any quip about this issue, and it’s very minor, it’s that I feel Christian Duce’s art didn’t seem the same with him coloring it. Don’t misunderstand me, his art is still amazing. It was just a very subtle change with him doing the interior work instead of having Carlos Badilla coloring for him like early on. But his art is still dead on for this story and he illustrates some great shots.

Even though things slowed down a bit, Paul doesn’t leave it like that the entire issue. As we get to the “master-plan” scene at the end of the book, we are treated to great confrontation between all the characters and yet another interesting twist as we find out how the Romans plan to end the vampires once and for all. It was a very interesting concept.

But Paul doesn’t let up even on the last page where we end on a very interesting cliffhanger as well. This one will leave you scratching your head until next issue. Without a doubt, this is the most under-rated title on the stands right now. I so hope this gets traded so more people can experience its awesomeness.

8 out of 10 (On it’s way to greatness!)

Ides of Blood #3

“Fangs, Romans, Countrymen” (No Spoilers)

Writer: Stuart C. Paul
Pencils: Christian Duce
Colors: Christian Duce
Letters: Johnny Lowe
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Shannon Eric Denton & Scott Peterson
Cover: Michael Geiger

This comic is kicking major @$$!!! It’s so refreshing to be reading a creator-owned work that this hitting it on all cylinders!

One thing I instantly appreciated about this issue is that I was able to finally grasp which characters were present and what their names were. Don’t misunderstand; this was not by Stuart Paul’s error in earlier issues at all. It’s just that this is such a dense comic I was getting lost with all the characters presented. Plus the fact that some of the Roman names of people and places are hard to pronounce here. But Paul does a great job of allowing us to recognize each of the characters and their roles now. For example, Anthony, the former friend of our main character Valen’s shows how truly brutal he can be. The opening scene between Anthony and Valen’s was highly cringe-inducing.

Remember how I’ve described this as Gladiator with vampires? Well, Stuart Paul is taking that premise and had so much fun with it in this issue. Imagine the scene with Russell Crowe in Gladiator where he first fights in a match and the colorful characters he’s matched up against. Now imagine those opponents are monstrous that are super strong and super fast. That’s the setting for the awesome battle Valens has during the course of this issue. Artist Christian Duce does an incredible job of illustrating some of these creatures and making an extremely action-packed and intense confrontation.

Stuart Paul has also done an excellent job of creating great dialogue and this issue is no exception. I did notice that Paul had more fun with the dialogue this issue. It seems as if he’s getting more comfortable in telling this story and how each character delivers their lines. The great dialogue mixed with amazing action made this one of the most fun reads I’ve picked up.

Even though the news of Wildstorm shutting down is sad, it’s great to see such a superb comic being one of the last to be printed under the imprint. Both Stuart Paul and Christian Duce are going to be sought after creators from here on out. And for those of you who are not checking out Ides of Blood now, you will be when these two guys make names for themselves. Mark my words!

9 out of 10 (Excellent!)

X-files/30 Days of Night #4

(No Spoilers)

Writer: Steve Niles & Adam Jones
Pencils: Tom Mandrake
Colors: Darlene Royer & Gabe Eltaeb
Letters: Ed Dukeshire
Assistant Editor: Kristy Quinn
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover: Andrea Sorrentino

If there’s one things Steve Niles knows how to do, it’s to creep you the #@!$ out! Oh my God are there some eerie scenes in this issue!

One thing that I thought was a nice change of pace from the beginning of this issue is that we focus on the vampires for a little bit. It’s an interesting format that Niles has used in the others stories I’ve read of his because he’s taken time for us to get to know the human characters so now we get to focus on the vampires for a bit. Usually I find it more interesting when villains are shown to have more to them that just simply being evil. But in this case, Niles and Jones show that these creatures do nothing to warrant sympathy.

I’ve also talked about in the past how I had no idea how Mulder and Scully were going to survive against such a dangerous opponent. I can say that so far, it’s been blind luck. Add to that fact that Niles and Jones have come up with some great situations where I’ve actually feared for Mulder and Scully’s well-being. This is a great feat for a writer who is writing about two characters who we already know will survive at the end of the story.

I also feel that Tom Mandrake’s art has improved greatly with each issue. With each new issue he’s seems more comfortable with the layouts and characters than he did at the beginning. Plus he gets to draw those creepy scenes I was referring to earlier.

This is what the fourth issue of a six-issue mini-series is supposed to be like! We’ve reviewed other mini-series where the fourth issue was still dragging. But Niles and Jones have kicked this series up a notch with a great new story element introduced in this issue. It’s put a whole new spin on this story for me. I can’t wait to see where it goes next!

9 out of 10 (Excellent!)