Monday, September 12, 2011

American Vampire: Volume Two - Review

American Vampire: Volume Two

SKINNER GETS SWEETER


The second hardcover trade of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire picks up in Las Vegas just as the famous dam is being installed. The dam has brought with it plenty of money and economic growth, but also crime and sin. Sheriff Cashel McCogan has been charged with keeping the town in order since his adoptive father’s retirement, and a string of strange murders has him on edge. Throw in a couple of unwanted federal agents and a pregnant wife at home and Cashel has his hands full. But are these agents really with the branch of the government that Cashel thinks they are? And what is Skinner Sweet doing hanging around the new burgeoning city as a brothel owner? All this and more takes a turn for the terrifying as vampires and humans clash against each other and themselves.

I had been a big downer towards vampire fiction for the longest time. Since the launching of books like Twilight and the whole paranormal teen romance phase I’ve kept away from horror and the supernatural. Why? Because it wasn’t really horror. It was glorifying vampires and other monsters are misunderstood and hunky young men who fight the urge of attacking humans, which is really just a metaphor in this case for abstinence, instead of having them scare the pants off of us like they’re supposed to. But thankfully Snyder has thrown his hat in the ring and brought vampires back into the realm of horror through Vertigo Comics.

Don’t get me wrong, Skinner Sweet is a cool character. And Pearl, the other American Vampire isn’t a villain at all, but the situations that they deal with and the storytelling is still a horror story and not a “will they, won’t they” teen drama. I read this whole volume in bed and hesitated turning off the light before I set the book down. And all I could think about, well, besides bloodthirsty monsters trying to drain me dry, is how that’s how I’m supposed to feel after reading something like that. If anything Snyder has made me appreciate the horror genre again, which I thought no writer could do in the modern era of horror.

American Vampire won the Eisner Award for Best Original Series and it deserves it. It’s a story that I’m really looking forward to diving into deeper and going for the bloody and horrifying ride that Snyder has in store for his readers. If you enjoy his work on Batman and Detective Comics, then you should really check this out. In fact, you should also check out his new ongoing Swamp Thing series that he has at DC Comics. It’s another horror/superhero story that has been reinvigorated by the surge in Snyder’s ability to produce terrifying comics that have real messages and fleshed out characters.

I give this whole volume a solid 5.

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