This second arc of “American Vampire” works hard to do as much world building as went on in the first arc. Las Vegas is proving to be a match of location for these toothy killers. It’s a testament to this issue that the quality continues completely and it works as a part of the arc as well as the one month fix that we have to take our serial addiction in.
Many cards are laid out on the table as the two assailants who have tracked down Pearl and her lover Henry make their offer. They represent a small clique of fearless vampire killers. However, they don’t know how to kill each species, so they ask Pearl, herself a vampire, to aid them. The idea is farcical and real and Snyder plays the dialogue, and the inherent threats and promises that come with it, for keeps. He sells the motivations of all involved in this situation.
A legacy of characters is being built here in the Book family. The patriarch, James Book, who headed up Stephen King’s portion of the first arc, and some of the female descendants he has left are making the depth of character in this title a treat. They are a resourceful and fiery bunch and are making for excellent drama. The handling of such a wide cast has made this title feel epic and sprawling, and yet still manageable. Each issue shows us links as to how it will all spiral into darkness at the end, surely.
Chief McCogan continues to be a favorite character. He is trying to understand the reality warping truth that vampires are active within his town. This understanding is made crystal clear when a revelation comes late in the issue. It’s a shock to see and is delivered brutally. It’s moments like this that makes this title so refreshing. Just as you feel one aspect might be resolved another one sprouts up and surprises you.
It feels like Albuquerque is drawing Pearl as even cuter, perhaps because she found some semblance of happiness, and his Cogan still feels like the unlikely hero of an older tale. He’s not an action star, he’s just a determined man. But it’s still the vampires that delight and alarm in these pages. Albuquerque gets the chance to show some serious page size to show off one of these hideous creatures and what it can do. He also draws a very early Goomba Vamp Pack that made me smile.
By this stage of the title, I’ve become absolutely certain we are observing the foundation construction of a complete classic. The scope feels limitless, and the quality is assuredly high. This issue continues a trend where every month we are gifted fantastic moments and nothing is saved for the end. Snyder has something to offer at every turn, which is a pleasure to get so consistently. “American Vampire” has done what many think can’t be attained: it has transcended the vampire genre as it has been defined for the last decade. This story, and all of the arcs, feel like they will lock together in the end, and will be an expansive opus of superlative character development and gory deaths. It cannot be stated enough, you must be reading this book.