Fiends Of The Eastern Front

Gerry Finley-Day (Author), Carlos Ezquerra (Author, Illustrator), Colin MacNeil (Illustrator)

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: REBELLION/2000AD (14 Oct 2010)

Fiends of the Eastern Front was a little before its time. These days your horror mash up is a movie and comic standard, but back when this was first published in 1980 the concept of taking a World War 2 action story and dropping in vampires was definitely out of the norm. And in another slight twist from what you would expect, the heroes of these stories are the Germans. I was actually pretty impressed, especially with the older stuff, that they were portrayed as good men and good soldiers who just happened to have been born on the German side. Granted they show them fighting Russians as shooting good old Tommy’s might have been a bit much, but still…

What you get in this collection are, I think, the only two story arcs these characters have appeared in along with a mini one shot. The first arc “Fiends of the Eastern Front” was originally published in 1980, the second “Stalingrad” was published an incredible 26 years later.

As you would expect, they do feel very different both in writing and art styles but to their credit it does still feel like the same universe and characters. Art for both is gorgeous, the earlier stuff being your classic 2000AD looking Carlos Ezquerra work and the newer by Colin MacNeil. Both are in black and white, but the later work has really effective grey shading.

All that said, I didnt love this book. It was an enjoyable read but possibly due to having been told it was one of the classics from 2000AD’s history I was possibly expecting more. Reading the older parts I did get a nice wave of nostalgia but almost wished it had stayed a straight war story as the vampires were a little over dramatic and I half expected some Sesame Street style counting from the main Big Bad. I think due to the shift between the old and new syles I may have been judging each story in comparison to the other so the older stuff seemed a bit hokey (as most old comics now do) and the newer stuff didn’t have the charm of the original. This book might read better if you take a slight break between the two arcs, though not the 26 years the creators did.

Stars out of 5 – 3.  I did enjoy this collection and feel bad about not going nuts over a classic story I remember from my childhood, but I didnt like it as much as I was hoping to.

Dry Slaps – 1… for the Mission Impossible style pull off facemasks. Hate those things in comics. Granted its not as bad here as when Batman does it and you think “Where did he hide the f***ing horns? Are they inflatable??” but still.

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