"American Vampire" #28 is a very good comic that suddenly kicks your ass and becomes great. There is a cool concept at the heart of this new arc and even if you only read the first seventeen pages you'll be satisfied, but it's the final three pages that will have old school fans salivating for more. This title is still on track, continually trying and succeeding with new things.
There are multiple beats in these twenty pages that ensure the issue has quiet moments between the peaks of violence and action. Snyder twists introspective moments into powerful showcases of just what these violent creatures are capable of. The threat of needing to turn into monsters and settle your problems with claws and fangs is always bubbling so very close in the background. The world of an American vampire is one fraught with constant peril.
The main thrust of this new arc is that Hollywood entities in the 1950s are housing and helping vampires. This situation shows how widespread the vampire epidemic across America is and how entrenched these creatures are in the cultural landscape, even if people don't realize it. Snyder uses this scenario to bring his story into our world while warping his fictional landscape enough to generate the high concept situations he needs. This book and its world straddle the line between what is real and unreal enough to hold the new without feeling false.
It is a major testament to the series as a whole that seeing an old character in a new setting can stir up such emotion and desire. The final pages of this issue are charged with the glee of seeing someone you've come to know and completely love finally return in a manner that feels fresh and exciting. Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque should feel extremely proud that someone created within the last few years resonates so strongly within the cultural landscape of comics. There is also strength to how they use this character in the closing sequence as it borders enough on the silly to feel amazing while still keeping true to the core of the character and title.
Rafael Albuquerque's art is continually atmospheric and dangerous. Innocent faces switch at a moment into snarling maws of doom within one panel and yet the similarity of character is still there for us to recognize what is happening to whom. In this issue, he gets to play with some new locations and his world-building in the new base of the Vassals is simply fantastic. The scope and detail enriches this world and settles you into each scene.
"American Vampire" #28 begins a new arc that is both set in Hollywood and also wants to use the storytelling structures of old Hollywood to tweak this tale. The result is a comic that pushes characters into a pinpoint situation where their friction and movement is explosive. This issue demonstrates how smart "American Vampire" is and its potential for fun. By the end of this issue, Snyder and Albuquerque will have you right in the palm of their hands.