• The Strain: The Night Eternal #2

    Published by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: Sept. 17, 2014

    As we enter the final third of this epic vampire-cum-post-apocalyptic tale, the cover of this issue reminds us that, no matter where you go or what you try, the eyes of The Master are everywhere!


    The issue begins with a now-bedraggled Eph searching the old CDC offices for Nora, whom he was supposed to meet up with. Instead, he finds a computer terminal with her chat account still logged in. There, he discovers the true nature of her relationship with Fet, the exterminator, and their mutual mistrust of Eph.

    Eph’s realizes he has become more manic in his search for his son, Zack. He’s done with booze now, popping pills instead as he grows more and more frantic. Nora, meanwhile, is trying to get her mother out of the city but, on the subway out, they are stopped by the police and brought in. Eph raids a hospital’s stores of pills, just to keep himself going. He’s confronted there by The Master, through two strigoi, speaking to him, who tries to seduce him into giving up and joining the rest of his family - with The Master.

    This is the core of Eph’s misery at the present so he lashes out, cutting down one of them but the other rushes off. As he peeks out the window, Eph sees that he’s summoned a massive amount of strigoi on his location and rues his latest misstep… Across from this building, The Master talks about how resourceful the good doctor has turned out to be. Kelly is there with him, too, and he acknowledges her desire to turn him, so they can be a complete family again. But the Master has other plans for her that night…

    The teenager Zack sits alone in his sprawling room, surrounded by every amenity and gift he’s ever wanted. He’s thinking of the zoo and the white leopard in it. He was given charge of the whole of the zoo by The Master. But as the bodies of the animals begin to pile up (some by Zack’s hand with the rifle he owns now) he’s overwhelmed by the duty. The Master is using this all as a lesson to him, offering him the option to prove himself master over the alluring, exotic leopard by killing it. If he does so, then the Master will keep the zoo open and attended for him, relieving Zack of his duties over it. He tells Zack that now that he’s becoming a man he must choose a side, either the “old, failed” ways or to stand with The Master as a “master of this new world.”

    This occurred two years prior, leaving Zack to wonder if he’s made the right choice. He’s brought out of this reverie by the appearance of Kelly. She’s dressed up to appear somewhat more human and greets Zack here on his birthday. She says that this is the Master’s gift, so they could become a family again. Zack is sad that his dad is dead (he believes) and that he and Kelly haven’t spoken in so long. So she sits and proposes he starts at the beginning, telling her everything.

    Eph thinks fast and rigs the gas tanks with a timed-fire release, blowing up the building and stopping the attacking army of strigoi. Elsewhere, Fet is bringing some very special cargo back to their hideout on Roosevelt Island when he notices the door is open. He bursts in, only to find the mysterious Mr. Quinlan there, welcoming him and telling him he wants the Occido Lumen from him…

    David Lapham continues his excellent version of this story here, moving the key elements around nicely as the main characters fight a seemingly impossible war. Mike Huddleston’s artwork is very much up to the task of covering all the action and varied scenes occurring here, too, as the story moves around so much. It’s an excellent series adaptation and still very much worth picking up now.