The supernatural western genre is nothing new, but occasionally something comes along that is at least entertaining and The Dark Hours is definitely that. The story begins with a man rolling into the town of Redemption which is a classic town name. The town’s deputies stop the man at the beginning of the town and ask his business… at gun point. The mystery man says he’s just riding through town, but he’d like to talk to the sheriff before he leaves. That he does as he heads into the bar and finds the sheriff. He calls him “Bean”, but the sheriff points out that he hasn’t been called that in quite some time. It’s not just his name he knows, he begins listing several other things he knows about “Bean” and none of them are something you want to see pop up on a resume. Our mystery man is interrupted by a flashy gambler, but he’s not having it and begins listing all of his dirty deeds including the game he’s currently cheating at. He goes around the room and it becomes clear that this is a crowd full of evil doers.
This is the catalyst of the story. Our mystery man who is only known as Judge has stumbled upon his destiny while delivering justice to the west. Outside of town a tracker named Minnesota finds him and asks to come with him. They talk and something that Minnesota says sets the Judge off. Suddenly the empty desert area is too dangerous for them to stay.
A classic horror monster appears as part of the story, but the way it’s presented and how they act is kind of different. The twist is that vampires are overseeing the town and they had an arrangement with the sheriff that no one else knew about. The strange thing is that they stalk around the town’s border with coyote skins on.
The story is adapted from a screenplay from the same writer and so it’s a pretty tight story. There’s obviously something special about the Judge, but he downplays it in the first two issues. The story doesn’t miss a beat between issue one and two, but I do wonder how issue three is going to wrap everything in time.
There are a lot of influences to the writing and the world that’s created. None that are too glaring and there’s only a slight resemblance to 30 Days of Night, but again not much. The dialogue was stiff at first, but by the midway point of the first issue it becomes the best part of the story. The second issue in particular has great pacing and is very tight from beginning to end.
The art is in all black & white and fits the ambiance of the story just fine. The style is familiar looking and if you’ve read a lot of indie comics than you’ve probably seen something similar. The first issue is a bit weak in the art department, but the gun fight turns out well. The second issue the art improves quite a bit. It’s not a huge leap, but I definitely noticed that there was a balance found between the details which stopped the page from beginning dominated by black ink, unless it was a night setting.
I actually couldn’t put the issues down once I started them. I liked the Judge and the fact that the vampires didn’t just walk into town and own the place, but rather they treated it like a farm. It’s an entertaining story and while I don’t know if it would work as a movie, it definitely works as a comic book. The second issue just released this month, but the final issue isn’t slated until fall of this year. If you like the supernatural western genre, then this isn’t a series to be missed.
Writers: B. Luciano Barsuglia and Kyle Roberts Screenplay: B. Luciano Barsuglia Artists: Kyle Roberts Publisher: BLB Media Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series Website