Nosferatu Wars (One Shot)

7.66 Overall Score
Art: 8/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Story: 8/10

Nosferatu Wars is a much more intimate story than its gonzo name would suggest, and I went from being cautiously intrigued by the title to pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

It takes a bit for the comic to settle in.

Nosferatu Wars (One Shot)
Steve Niles, Menton3
Dark Horse Comics
2014

Nosferatu, the 1922 film from auteur F.W. Murnau, though closing in on its centennial still has some of the most haunting imagery in the history of film. Naturally, I was intrigued by the new one-shot Nosferatu Wars, from horror-comic guru Steve Niles. But, as it turns out, Nosferatu Wars is a much more intimate story than its gonzo name would suggest, and I went from being cautiously intrigued by the title to pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Niles has created a horror story that, despite blatantly referencing a perennial classic, is completely his own and has only the most vague connection to the titular horror classic.

Tarquin and Moira are vampiric (or some early form of the romantic, blood-suckers we’ve come to know) lovers traversing the countryside of an undisclosed European nation, ravaged by the Bubonic Plague in what I’m assuming is the fourteenth(ish)-century. Tarquin and Moira are on a mission to feast on the blood of a rich noble, but make a few stops on the way where they anger a plague doctor and blaspheme the Catholic Church.

Like much of Niles’ work, Nosferatu Wars relies on a dark and moody tone. The art in Nosferatu Wars, by Menton3 (nee Menton J. Matthews III) is reminiscent of the artwork in Niles’ books with Australian artist Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre). The shading is vague and cloudy in a way that allows for the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks that hide in the shadows or in a character’s silhouette. The pallet consists mostly of dark and earthy tones, which compliment the gothic nature of both the story and the time period.

It takes a bit for the comic to settle in, but with thirty-two pages instead of the standard twenty-two, the comic affords itself the time to set the tone early, even if it meanders a bit. Most of Niles’ dialogue occurs as the interior monologue between either Moira or Tarquin, but he keeps dialogue between the characters to a minimum. I’m always astounded in Niles’ ability to cultivate relationships between characters using very few words.

Nosferatu Wars broods and smolders for ninety-percent of the book. Let me qualify, it’s the best kind of brooding and smoldering. Niles is working towards a crescendo that is as bonkers as it is beautiful and profound. Those only mildly interested in the horror genre may get lost in the moodiness of it all, but if you feel like you are “working” your way through the guts of the book, I recommend staying with it until the end. The pay-off is spectacular. Those already accustomed to Niles’ writing style will relish in the mood he creates and wait for the moment when your mouth falls open. Nosferatu Wars is a strange title, a stranger story and an all-around delight.

 

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Craig Schroeder
Author: Craig Schroeder View all posts by
I am a graduate of Florida State University, studying Creative Writing and History. Right now I work a desk job but I dream all day of making a living writing comics. I formed an indie label based in Tallahassee called Gentleman Baby Comics and HIT! is our debut comic. I read a lot of comics. I watch a lot of movies. I drink too much soda. I love a great television show.

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