Thursday, August 29, 2013

American Vampire Volume 4 - Scott Snyder

Even though I'm not the biggest fan of horror comics, I'm still reading and enjoying the collected editions of Scott Snyder's AMERICAN VAMPIRE, a comic that's almost as much historical fiction as it is horror.

Volume 4 collects three storylines from the comic. The first one, "The Beast in the Cave", is a Western, a prequel story that finds Skinner Sweet, who will later become the American Vampire of the title, and his adopted brother and soon-to-be nemesis Jim Book fighting on the same side as U.S. cavalrymen during the Apache Wars. As you might expect, a supernatural angle crops up and leads to plenty of bloody violence, although things don't really play out the way you might think they would. This arc has some nice artwork by European comics legend Jordi Bernet that reminds me of Joe Kubert's art.

The second storyline, "Death Race", has art by series co-creator Rafael Albuquerque and is set in California in 1954. The protagonist is a typical teenage delinquent and hot-rodder, only as usual things aren't what they appear. This JD has a secret that involves Skinner Sweet, and this four-issue arc features an epic chase and battle between the two of them.

A two-parter called "The Nocturnes" rounds out this collection and spins a yarn set in Alabama in 1954 that mixes doo-wop music, the Korean War, and a type of monster that's new to this series. The art is by Roger Cruz and Riccardo Burchielli.

All these stories were written by Scott Snyder, and the scripts are fast-paced, bleak, and occasionally punctuated by some very dark humor. I think there were too many flashbacks in "Death Race", which made the story a little hard to follow, but overall I enjoy Snyder's work and I like this series. I'm sure I'll continue to read these collected editions as they come out.

1 comment:

Scott D. Parker said...

I have not read this title, but Snyder's work on Batman, specifically the Court of Owls storyline, is stellar.