Review by Frank Plowright
With ‘The Night Eternal’ The Strain takes a leap forward two years. As shown during The Fall, the battle has been lost, the Master’s plans have come to fruition, and the result of his tinkering with Earth’s ecology is that there are now only two hours of daylight per day. It’s only during those two hours that humans can safely move about. In effect, though, the vampires rule the world, and the Master sits above them, and a human curfew is in effect during daylight. Ephraim Goodweather still has reason to believe it’s just the battle that’s been lost, not the war, and mourns for his abducted son, his hope stemming from the possession of an ancient book revealing the vampire’s secrets. The problem is that it’s old and arcane, and needs translated, and the person best placed to do that is no longer around, so Vasily travels the world hoping to find a substitute.
Anyone who’s come this far with David Lapham and Mike Huddleston’s adaptation of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s horror trilogy is surely not going to give up now. It would take some major mistake on the creators’ parts to force a departure, and we can trust them not to make that mistake. They present a grim world where temptation is a powerful tool, although those who resist make the strangest of allies. Some people represent the worst of humanity, retaining power and influence, among humans at least, at the cost of any conscience. One is someone we’ve seen before without realising just how compromised they are.
Quinlan has also been seen before, but only briefly, so he’s basically a new character stepping into the spotlight. He’s a vampire, but not one controlled by the Master, and during an interlude we learn why that’s the case. It makes him dangerous, not afflicted by the vampire’s weakness for silver or sunlight, yet able to channel the vampire’s positive attributes. A fuller revelation of who he is can be found in spin-off graphic novel, Mister Quinlan: Vampire Hunter.
There’s one massive, almost out of nowhere moment. It’s stunning. It’s been set up, but no-one who read the scene doing that in Volume 4 can have predicted how it plays out. It’s convenient, perhaps, but worth it for the moment. The ending is somewhat arbitrary, but that awkwardness sometimes occurs when adapting a story into serialised comics. It’s a forgiveable lapse when the pulse is racing for the confrontation to come.