Thursday, June 6, 2013

American Vampire Sinks Its Teeth In

American Vampire:  Volume 2

Written by Scott Snyder

Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque and Mateus Santolouco

Published by Vertigo

4 Out of 5 Stars

I suspected this before, but volume 2 in the American Vampire storyline confirms what has now become an inalienable truth: Scott Snyder is a bad ass. And so are his vampires.

In volume 1, we were introduced to Skinner Sweet, the first American Vampire whose accidental creation proved to be a blow against the old school European vampires; Sweet is faster, stronger, and unlike any breed of vampire that came before him. Clearly, there's some symbolism here about America rising out of the outmoded aristocratic societies from which its populace immigrated to become a superpower, but who cares because there are VAMPIRES who are KILLING people and ENJOYING it without turning into emo-esque tortured souls after the blood spatters have hit the wall.

Volume 2 continues the story of many of the characters introduced in the first volume, but the setting is approximately a decade later (this is one of my favorite aspects of this series, the way it's not afraid to jump forward in time and explore its characters as America continues to work its way through its adolescence as a nation). The first storyline follows Las Vegas police chief Cashel McCogan as he investigates a series of murders that occur during the building of the Hoover Dam. Cashel is shocked to find out that his city harbors more than the mortal vices of gambling, drinking, and prostitution when he discovers that Sin City has more monsters hiding in its shadows than in its bright lights. The second storyline focuses on Pearl, the vampire created by Skinner Sweet in volume 1, as she tries to create an idyllic life with her human husband, Henry, and avoid the past that she knows is tracking her down.

These stories continue to develop the characters of Sweet and Pearl, as well as Felicia and Abilena Book who have become vampire hunters intent on making Sweet pay for turning Jim Book. I continue to love the idea of various types of vampires (like the Gaelic Prime), each of which must be killed in a different fashion, and how the American breed proves particularly difficult to kill as no one--man or vampire--has discovered its unique weaknesses. There are also some nice plot twists (with a chilling end to the first storyline of Cashel McCogan) and questions that still have yet to be answered (such as what exactly is Felicia Book, the naturally born child of Abilena and the infected Jim Book). I suppose it's on to volume 3 to find out.

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