More vampire shenanigans now, with co-creator Ben Templesmith on art and writing duties in this tale of historical bloodsuckers in this 2008 three-parter set during World War 2 on the Eastern front. You probably know the score by now, but I'll recap: 30 Days of Night refers to the Alaskan town of Barrow, which experiences a month of darkness every winter and one year a group of vampires take advantage of this to nearly wipe out the town in a feeding frenzy. They were defeated by Sheriff Eben Olemaun who injected himself with vampire blood and killed their leader and driving the rest off before turning to ash by the side of his wife Stella when the sun came up. Stella Olemaun became an expert in vampire hunting but ended up bringing Eben back who bit and turned her, but the two of them went on to become Barrow's undead protectors. Stella's research on vampires told us that they can pretty much only be killed by completely destroying the head, burning up or prolonged exposure to U.V. light. Holy symbols, stakes through the heart etc don't work. We also found out through her that vampires share a linked conciousness and often seek to "turn" people because their long lives render them lonely and desiring of companionship. This story, being set long before the events of the original Barrow assault shows us that vampires have been around a long time and have always sought to take advantage of human strife, bloodshed and places lacking in light.
It starts with a German called Klaus who has lost and eye staring out across the snowy landscape. Another Nazi commiserates with him, and Klaus says it is freezing cold, "vermin" shoot at them constantly and they have to drink the "donkey piss" vodka. The other Nazi who is called Trabant says the fuhrer will acknowledge them as heroes when all this is over.
|Klaus the Nazi|
Hoeppner: "He has chosen us to liquidate the slavs and Jews. Kuchlerlebensraum. For the glory of our fatherland the people must have room to breathe."
Klaus says he hasn't forgotten his oath and he knows there is not a man there who would not die for the Fuhrer.
They spot a village in the distance and decide it needs "clearing". This will make pushing onto Murmansk easier. Hoeppner believes that when the Soviets lose access to western aid they "will fold like a deck of cards" because they aren't made for fighting. They make for the village.
Inside one of the village houses are a couple, a goat and a young son and older daughter. They reassure each other that if the Germans come they can use the network of escape tunnels they have access too. The man - Stefan - gives his son a gun and tells him how to use it.
|You grow up fast in wartime.|
Galchenko interrupts saying Orlov is uncultured and the Russians really do appreciate the British help with their war effort. He's been show Murmansk where the Nazi's were beaten back and they have mostly been killing off Nazi anti-partisan squads.
Then they come across some bodies ripped to bits. Galchenko says angrily the Germans are animals who would eat human flesh rather than starve. They see a panicking Nazi fleeing and the mounted Cossacks go to ride him down. The Naiz tries to sputter out a warning, but before he can he gets his head sliced off. They spot more Nazis in the distance and give chase.
A bespectacled Nazi called Baum grabs one of the women and takes her off to rape her as the men are murdered. After the men are shot, Hoeppner orders the building the women and children burned using their flamethrower. Klaus looks down in what looks very much like shame.
The three Cossacks chase several Nazi's through a snowfield which starts sucking them down like quicksand and they are all pulled under. In Stefan's house, the Russians come knocking and he goes out and greets them. Galchenko praises the "stout Russian worker" who carries on and aids with the fight. Charlie has more important concerns, do they have any tea? "You English and your tea" says Galchenko. A storm is coming so they all go inside.
But the storm brings monsters. A small girl baring her vampire teeth is leading a group of vampires made up of soldiers from both sides, including the Cossacks. Inside Stefan's house, Galchenko is suspicious of how they have so much food and drop heavy hints he thinks they might be "war profiteers". One of the men goes to take a piss outside and when he opens the door he is shot in the face by the Germans.
Stefan's son, Nikolai wants to join the fight. Orlov tells Charlie they are most like being attacked by a lost SS detachment looking to butcher easy targets. Charlie isn't encouraged by this. As the Nazis dig in and fire on the house they spot the vampires walking towards them.
|Vampires on the march.|
Hoeppner yells as Trabant to clear a path, Trabant says he's trying but "these things east ammunition". There is a frenzy of flame and bloodshed as the flamethrower unit tries to kill them. Hoeppner is about to be killed and Charlie shoots the vampire in its head and saves him.
|Baum goes down.|
Stefan's daughter shows them the hidden tunnels they can hide in now the house is no longer secure and the Russians and Nazis climb down. Stadler is ordered to set the room on fire as they move down. Outside the long haired vampire says to the little girl vampire if this is it. The little girl vampire thinks then says:
Little Girl Vampire: "I think not...Find them. The village was already half deserted, we will be left hungry if we do not gather the rest. Let none survive".
Hiding in the tunnels the soldiers try to figure out what attacked them. Nevsky, a Cossack says he used to hear stories about creatures like them at the Northern Steppes. Orlov says they are their punishment. Or maybe the Nazis punishment, he hasn't heard a thankyou for saving them.
|Charlie takes charge.|
Galchenko: "This is hell... this is just like hell... we're all going to die."
Charlie comments he didn't think communists believed in God. Rosa, the two women of the house now says there is a truck close by. Charlie assures them they'll take them with them. Orlov says he'll have Rosa show him where the ammo is, Nikolai will show Charlie where the truck is.
There is plenty of ammo which Rosa assures Orlov was all going to the Soviet cause. She is upset about the loss of her husband, Orlov says he cares for nothing except Stalin. Then the little girl zombie appears. Before he can aim his rifle, she flies at his throat and rips it out. Rosa can only cry as she realises she is next.
Charlie hears her screams and goes back. He finds the little girl hunched over Rosa's body. He fires at her and knocks a hole in a fuel tank. He lights the fuel with a match and sets her on fire. She runs away and dives into the snow to put herself out. Her "Big Brother" asks her if it is his turn and she says they are playing "nasty games" and she wants them dead like now.
|Tragedy strikes for Nikolai|
Nikolai: "I want to kill all of them Englishman. Those things. The Germans. All of them".
The vampires are making vampires of what remained of the villagers. When they are done, they will chase down the soldiers in the tunnels. The little girl says she "turns them into things of beauty" and likes having new friends to play with.
Back at the base in the tunnels, Charlie chews Hoeppner out for not providing support. He says he could't care less about the "vermin and their spawn". When Galchenko discovers Orlov is dead, he says he's the ranking officer. But Charlie says "like hell" and a poll from the Russians and Germans left show support for Charlie's plan.
|A plan is agreed on.|
Galchenko says it should buy them some time, but flaming vampires rush out of the conflgration. One reaches Charlie, but before he can be bitten, Nevsky cuts its head off. They run for the truck and quietly Hoeppner says to Trabant that it will not hold them all. They need to kill off the Russians. Hoeppner then shoots one to get started. Trabant stands and looks at him, then kills the other one with them.
Hoeppner leaves him there and goes to commandeer the vehicle. Charlie has managed to get it started, though it's too late for Tranbant who kills himself before he can be vamped by his attackers. With Hoeppner on board the truck bursts through the garage wall and squishes several vampires. Then Hoeppner shoots Galchenko in the head.
|Never trust a Nazi.|
He tells Nikolai that Nevsky will see him right and take him to the next town. It's the end for Charlie and he doesn't want to turn, so he hands his gun to Nikolai and tells him "you know.. what you have to do now."
The vampires congregate and the little girl says they won't get far, "there will be many more before this winter is over anyway." Hoeppner wakes up and finds himself surrounded by vampires and with only a knife to defend himself with. "Let's get this over with" he says grimly and that brings this installment to a close.
|Cue Bolvian Army Ending.|