When a series of murders brings unwanted attention to Burns, Alaska, our friend Logan is suspect numero uno. And why wouldn’t he be? The man’s done some bad things in life and killing is definitely on that list. In fact, that’s what brought him to Burns in the first place. It doesn’t help that his claw marks appear to be on the bodies of every one of the victims.
The Long Night follows two detectives trying to make sense of these killings. Burns is an isolated town, so what does go on there doesn’t tend to find its way to the outside world. Most locals think an oversized bear is responsible but the cult, The Aurora, has been fostering a lot of attention with their radio wave broadcasts and nighttime break-ins. Wolverine, a newcomer, has already made a bad impression with some of the townsfolk and his whereabouts remain a mystery. The way the story unfolds is unique in that it doesn’t follow Wolverine, but focuses on the mystery of the murders through the eyes of the detectives. What bits we do get of him are told through the locals’ interactions with him. While deep down we can’t believe Logan would kill so many innocents without cause, the odds continue to be stacked against him as new details emerge.
The big reveal, and we are entering spoiler territory here, comes toward the end. It turns out a bad batch of fentanyl mutated one of the townspeople, creating the beast Wendigo who was responsible for all of the deaths. To be honest, the origin of fentanyl was fairly weak, especially with it coming from a character who barely had two panels of introduction up to this point. Even more so, his motivations for being bullied by his older brother felt shoehorned in. To top it off, there isn’t much of a showdown between Wolverine and Wendigo, and any conflict happens off-panel.
While the first pass is engaging and mysterious, this makes multiple re-reads of The Long Night somewhat lackluster. However, one reason to go back and read it again would be the revelation at the very end that the two detectives are actually Weapon X sentinels whose goal was tracking down Logan and not solving the murder cases. For Wolverine, he needs to high-tail it once again to get Weapon X off of his back, giving back story to why he returns to Japan. He also realizes that he needs to stop denying who he is and put his claws to good use.
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