"American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares" #2 stops the overall narrative flow to drop a 20-page lesson on the intriguing character and story aspects to Scott Snyder's Dracula. There is an inherent danger in seeding a known quantity when the whole ethos of "American Vampire" usually creates new things. Snyder usually generates his own mythological roots, his own strain of vampire and his own characters. Thus, to suddenly insert the most famous vampire of all time might feel at odds with the title, but "American Vampire: Lord of Vampires" #2 dispels each and every fear.
Snyder weaves Dracula into this landscape effortlessly as every page makes you forget what you know about Dracula. Snyder even drops a quick line to say we need to ignore Stoker but he has the chops to give us reasons why this new version is more compelling. The brief interlude to 1888 is exceptionally well played and drops so much in one page that feels like a sneaky wink at the audience -- but it's more exposition for Dracula than anything else. It's a feat of serious strength for Snyder, who delivers such a broad amount of information in 20 pages, still makes the page fly by and progress the narrative in one major step at the end of the issue.
Dustin Nguyen's work is excruciatingly good in this issue. He fits into the world well -- just as every artist chosen to work on Rafael Albuquerque's playground -- and he also knows how to make pages flow. But these are basic elements and Nguyen rises well above all this through use of a variety of techniques in only one issue. As this is the history of Dracula, the script allows Nguyen space to experiment with different things. The result is a harmonic confluence of words and art to make something larger than either could be on their own.
Although the art and writing for "American Vampire" are usually both so good that they sprint alongside each other, this might be the first time we've ever seen art eclipse Snyder's words. Nguyen elevates this book to levels you won't believe. This book looks amazing and will have you stunned and waiting on each page. In fact, it's more than a standard comic, it's art come together to represent a story rather than just tell it. Nguyen gets across feelings and emotion, but also tone and flavor. Out of the last four pages, three are easily worthy of a pin up. As a horror comic, this issue has a modern flow while echoing a distinctly old-school feel.
"American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares" #2 is amazing on a visceral level. This is a comic that wants you to do more than enjoy it; it wants you to feel an experience. Once again, Snyder parcels together an issue you can read and take away in a neat package that stands alone but adds to the overall "American Vampire" mythos. Snyder's Dracula is intriguing and will definitely affect the overall title in a big way. Also, the opportunity for a Dracula versus Skinner Sweet showdown is just too much to hope for. However, it's Nguyen who's the key to propelling this issue over the edge. This is an issue that sticks in your mind and propels you to the stands for what comes next.