Happy Monday! Let’s talk about bloodsucking monsters!
The second American Vampire trade includes two stories set just a few years after the events of the book’s first arc. The first concerns a series of mysterious deaths in early Las Vegas. The second checks in with Pearl Jones as she tries to live a normal, happy life. Given that Scott Snyder writes this series (and, I guess, because it's a horror book), both stories are fraught with anxiety.
Both stories share an undercurrent of inevitable doom. In the Vegas story, Snyder foreshadows the outcome of the sheriff’s investigation of vampire-related murders. Even without tipping his hand, though, the idea of an optimistic, old-fashioned, mortal lawman tangling with Skinner Sweet seems like it can only end in loss. Where it succeeds is in its turns of plot; each time the plot twists, so too does the knife. In contrast, Pearl knows this part of her story can only end one way—she will outlive the mortal man she loves. Avoiding supernatural threats to his well-being brings only temporary, bittersweet victory. Doom is inevitable because success only delays the chapter’s end.
Albuquerque, Santolouco, and McCaig’s art is raw and angry. Even in quiet moments or serene environments, their pages bring a sense of danger lurking in every shadow. Their visuals are a perfect complement to American Vampire’s thematic sense of omnipresent dangers.
If the series’s time jumps with each arc have given you pause in reading it, I will tell you now that they are well executed. The established threats—Skinner Sweet, in particular—lurk in the periphery of the story. This is not one of those horror stories that ruins its monster by letting it spend too much time onscreen. Instead, it trades in the powerlessness against evil and finding a way to fight that evil regardless of disadvantage. I definitely recommend jumping into the series if you want a suspenseful, smartly crafted story.
- American Vampire, Vol. 2 (#6-11)
Writer: Scott Snyder | Artists: Rafael Albuquerque, Mateus Santolouco | Colorist: Dave McCaig | Letterer: Steve Wands