Of all the monsters in creation, vampires have always been the most romanticized. That’s probably because despite the nasty, ghastly need to ingest human blood for nourishment vampires are the only creatures (that we know of) who truly enjoy a life immortal. Being immortal, one certainly has the greatest opportunity to find and enjoy the benefits of lasting true love … but, sadly, one might also have to endure the pain of a truly broken heart should the object of affection not wish to join you in eternal matrimony.
Me? I figure once around is good enough.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Tarquin and Moria are vampires deeply in love with one another, but it would seem that fate is forever conspiring to put distance between them. Wanting nothing more than to enjoy wedded bliss, the two seek and receive an official ceremony, only to turn the tables on a man of the cloth in their dastardly deception. Having broken some established ‘code’ of behavior, a vampire cabal rises against them, only to leave the lovely Moria no other course of action but to confront those who would punish them directly. In doing so, she leaves Tarquin behind for – dare I say? – parts unknown.
Pardon the expression, but there’s very little substance to sink one’s teeth into with NOSFERATU WARS. Sure, there are vampires aplenty as this tale is set apparently on the cusp of a plague in the Dark Ages, but everything else is all style, mind over real matter. It all looks grand (whatever or whoever Menton3 is should be commended for imbuing this tale with some deliciously dark visuals), but, by the last page, it’s hard to tell if there’s more meant to follow (a postscript speech bubble implies Tarquin’s tale is only just beginning) or if this was meant to fill in a pothole to some other avenue. The only one who knows is storyteller Steve Niles … and, so far as I’ve been able to find, he’s not saying.
As a one shot, I suppose it’s easy to conclude this is all well and good … but I found I tall a bit puzzling for reasons I won’t disclose as that would be too much of a spoiler.
Then give it a read. It’s certainly worth a look, if nothing else.
NOSFERATU WARS (One Shot) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The story is written by Steve Niles; the art and cover are by Menton3; with letters provided by Nate Piekos of Blambot. For those wanting to know a bit more, this one-shot collects four installments originally appearing in DARK HORSE PRESENTS #26-29. It’s available for purchase for the low, low price of $3.99, a reasonable investment if noir-inspired vampire tales tickle your fancy.
RECOMMENDED if for no other reason than the sheer creepiness of it all. NOSFERATU WARS is a one-shot that strongly hints at little more than set-up (i.e. the state of the world, the characters populating it, etc.), and I’ve no doubt that writer Steve Niles is either using this as a springboard to some greater story or filling in the background of some greater story that already exists. Either way, it’s a vision sadly incomplete, making it hard to enthusiastically endorse on any other level. Give it a go, if the dark and dreary world of vampires is in your wheelhouse, and maybe you can discern far more than I.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of NOSFERATU WARS (One Shot) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.