This is going to be the last visit to the world of 30 Days of Night (I have sadly had to skip the Eben and Stella mini due to the art making it impossible to tell who was who half the time) at least those collected in the two omnibuses. In case you've missed any of my other looks at the various 30 Days of Night miniseries, the titular "30 Days of Night" are those experienced by the Alaskan town of Barrow when there is no sun for a month in winter. Some enterprising vampires took it upon themselves to go and feed off the townsfolk and many of the inhabitants were killed. The town sheriff Eben Olemaun injected himself with vampire blood and kept his sanity long enough to kill the head vampire and frighten the rest off. He died sitting with his wife Stella when the sun finally came up. Stella wrote a book about the incident called 30 Days of Night and became a veteran vampire hunter. But she missed Eben too much and through a blood ritual bought him back and he promptly turned her into a vampire. However both kept their humanity and when vampires tried to attack Barrow again, they wiped the vampires out and promised to watch over the town for the foreseeable future. We have also seen vampires in Mexico, on the Eastern Front in World War 2 and witnessed the crazed experiments of a vampire fetishist. This final mini of omnibus two returns to Barrow many years after the last attack and is written by series co-creator Steve Niles with art by the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz.
It begins... with tiny red lettering on black backgrounds which I need a flippin' torch to read, dammit! But anyway, start again. It begins.. with a potted history of Barrow. That the three things the town is used to are below zero temperatures, living in darkness and vampire attacks.
Narrator: "For creatures who fear the light and thirst for blood, Barrow and the entire Artic circle are heaven on Earth. Hell on Earth if you are human."
We a small group of vampires walking through the snow towards the town. The woman says they should not be here, that the townspeople are prepared and the vampire elders have forbade attacks on the town. The leader says they will "invade, feed and then leave. Nobody, not even our own will be the wiser".
|Something worse than vampires appears.|
In Barrow Bob Huey, the man who has run the Barrow airport for years has let in a plane he shouldn't have, it should be closed to air traffic during the dark month. But he needed the cash and the offer was too good to pass up. The passengers are Richard Denning, a billioniare and self-proclaimed adventurer who has read that vampires live near Barrow. His wife Kelly who showed him Stella Olemaun's book and got him bitten by the vampire hunting bug. Keri their daughter who "would rather be anywhere else in the world."
Chris Miller and his latest girlfriend Tina who are along for the adventure are also part of the expediion. So is Nat Gilmore who works for Richard and has no choice and finally Scott Powell, Richard's friend who likes guns and photography and wants to be the first human to take a photo of a vampire - dead or alive.
|Every man has his price.|
Bob: "Folks around here are lucky if we can get chains on our tyres or run-down snowcat."
Richard: "Well folks round here should invest their money better".
Bob says he'll hide the plane but if anyone asks he'll tell them they landed without permission and he turned the runway lights on so "you wouldn't splatter yourself all over Barrow". Richards says he'll back him up if they meet anyone in town.
Bob panics, he thought they weren't going into town. Richard casually says they'll tell his lie for him and his party depart leaving Bob with a handful of cash wondering if it was worth it, "even he knows deep down, if these jackasses go anywhere but Barrow they'll probably wind up dead."
Richard says to his party that he doesn't care if they do go into Barrow, it's too well defended, the real action will be outside its walls. His wife says she and Keri want to photograph Eben's grave and the remains of the Ikos diner. Keri sulkily says she doesn't want to take any pictures. Her mum wants to see all the sights because if they find a vampire she and Richard are going to write a book.
They drive to the town gate and are stopped by armed men. Richard says they just want to see the sights then they'll be on their way. To come into Barrow they have to show identification, and their teeth. Once inside they find the graveyard and Richard, Kelly and an unenthused Keri pose in front of Eben's grave for a photo.
|A tacky photo.|
Marcus Kitka's father Brian is the sheriff of Barrow. He and Marcus get along but they weren't as close as they were before the first attack the lived through that Marcus still has nighmares about. Defending Barrow has become Brian's year round job and it takes him away from Marcus who goes to see John Ikos about something bothering him about the newcomers.
He tells John he can't stop thinking about them, "that daughter or the jackass you punched?" queries John. Marcus wants to know why they let them go out there. John says it isn't their business and they wouldn't listen anyway. Marcus says they get killed:
John: "If the cold don't, somethin' else is bound to come along. It's called thinning the herd or natural selection".
Marcus says that's cynical and John says you get that way when you've fought to live as many times as he has. Marcus says he's the perfect person to help them then, but John refuses saying he can't help people who don't want help. But he gives in and says they'll check as far as "Tartok Ridge" but if they aren't in sight from there they are as good as dead. They pick up some flash grenades and head on out.
|The party camp out.|
Meanwhile John and Marcus are walking through the snow. John is telling him about a man called John Franklin who tried mapping the Artic, he never returned from an expedition and his body was found frozen and stripped of flesh. They could tell by the scratches on the bones themselves. Even his brain had been cleaned out. Marcus asks what the point of this gory story about people disappearing from where they are currently walking. John just asks him how good he is with a gun these days.
Marcus: "One, Yes I can still shoot. Two. You are seriously freaking me out!"
Back at the camp, everyone is getting a bit tipsy. Keri demands they take and look outside, so Chris peeks through the tent flaps and sees the same strange "rocks" surrounding them. "They weren't there when we drove in and set up" says Richard suddenly serious.
|Spooky story time.|
"Well look who's paying attention in class" says Richard. "Idiots" mutters Keri. Then Chris looks out again and says the stones have gone. Then suddenly he's wrenched out in a flurry of blood. Richard, Kelly and Keri manage to get into the jeep as the tent is attacked and the others sliced to pieces. The jeep drives through the black bodied beings who assaulted them and gets free. "Richard, I don't think these are the vampires from the book" says Kelly.
|The party are attacked.|
Richard's panicked driving has got them lost. The GPS system isn't responding and neither are the radio or satellite phone. They are flying blind. Richard says if they keep driving they should hit something soon. He and Keri bicker as she accuses him of being the idiot who wanted to go vampire hunting in Alaska. Richard ungallantly says it was her mother's idea. Then they see a cave and they drive into it to hide.
Keri doesn't think they should be stopping. Richard says they'll conserve fuel, build a fire and maybe someone will find them in the daylight. But Keri points out it won't be daylight for thirteen more days. Then they notice the cave has a funny smell and is warm. Richard says it's probably an underground spring. They have supplies, they can hold out for a while.
|The "vampires" torture their prey.|
"That noise is horrible!" exclaims Kelly stupidly loudly and the vampires turn and realise they have company. Richard fires a flare gun at them as they approach. The vampires grab all three of them but Keri manages to struggle free though her clothes are ripped off in the process. Her parents are killed and she stands frozen in a pond of blood. One of them comes close and sniffs her. Things look bad for her, then John shoots it in the head.
|John Ikos to the rescue.|
He takes her back to John's cabin where he is waiting for them. Keri asks him what those things really were. John says that some folks believe they are vampires who came and settled here a long time ago. Their bodies adapted to the extreme weather conditions and over the centuries became a different species altogether. Keri thanks him for killing them.
John: "Dead? I doubt they're all dead. They're survivors like us."
The story then comes to a close with the narrator saying that long ago, over many years, many braved the journey to search for new lands. And only a few ever returned. "And as the legend goes, some of the weary travellers stayed behind and became part of the land. And part of the terror". The end.
|Only Keri survives.|