Comics Anonymous


Breath of Bones

Steve Niles may be most well-known for the big horror releases like 30 Days of Night or Criminal Macabre but his latest title Breath of Bones: A Tale of The Golem through Dark Horse had a mix of wartime history and horror that had me intrigued.

The story centres on a Noah who we initially see as a soldier in the war in early 1944 before our tale flashes back to him growing up in a village on the verge of being attacked by the Germany army.  Easing into the story we see the close relationship between Noah and his grandfather as they intently monitor the radio for news of the war.  The war brings them uncertainty but it also brings them closer together as they try to survive among a close-knit Jewish community in the village.  A community disrupted by a crashed British plane that brings them an injured pilot to attend to and the unwanted attention of the Nazi’s.  The will to keep themselves and their visitor safe builds as the Germans start to close in.  Bringing the village closer together and elevating their faith to do what’s right in the face of the dictating soldiers.  Noah almost seems caught in the midst of this as he takes his Grandfathers side in protecting the soldier, leading the villagers and facing the enemy at the gates.


The Golem in question passed onto Noah from his grandfather takes centre-stage in their face-off against the Germans as things start to get a lot more risky for the villagers.  As Noah’s grandfather wills the Golem into existence at the expense of his own life we see the larger clay version come to life and defend the village form certain doom.  Noah urges the Golem on to pursue the retreating attackers and prevent them coming back with reinforcements and that’s exactly what they do.

Noah's Golem

This 3-issue wartime tale has so much depth and poignancy to it that the 3-issues flyby effortlessly and each issue builds to give us a story with real heart.  Just like “Freaks of the Heartland” from Niles, this is another story that I can read again and again and feel the same level of involvement in the story each time.  A key aspect of that involvement is the mix of writing and art styles – as Dave Wachter helps build a familiar feel to the characters and an instance connection with the struggle being depicted.  Not any different from any other wartime story and maybe the black & white colouring give us that old-movie feel mixed with caring for the characters on the page but the whole series stands out in my mind after reading.  One I’m sure to be asking other people if they’ve read and if they haven’t, I’ll advise that they get hold of it.



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