“American Vampire Volume 2” Graphic Novel Review

“American Vampire Volume 2”
On Sale May 25, 2011
Vertigo; 160pg.; Color; Hardcover; $24.99 US; Mature Readers

When I received “American Vampire Volume 2,” my red flag immediately went up. Staring down at the beautifully evil cover art I noticed that there was a name missing. That name was Stephen King. I went into a momentary state of panic. I had to remember that the other writer, Scott Snyder, was more than capable of carrying this horror tale to the next level. After all, the guy did create the comic series and it’s popular anti-hero Skinner Sweet. This volume collects issues #6 through #11 of the monthly title.

“American Vampire Volume 2” takes us to “Las Vegas circa 1935, where Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City. In just a few short years, young police chief Cash McCogan has watched his native city of Las Vegas go from cow-town to wild, glittering boomtown. And when the bodies of prominent businessmen start showing up drained of blood, Chief McCogan finds himself facing a threat much darker and deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . . and the only sure bet in town is that Skinner and Pearl are right in the thick of it.”

I have become familiar with Scott Snyder’s work through Detective Comics and he can definitely pull his own weight. With “American Vampire Volume 2,” writer Snyder has expanded upon his world of vampires by taking them into new locations and new eras. He also does a great job of interweaving Skinner Sweet, Pearl, Hattie, and the “gentlemen” vampires with new characters like Chief McCogan. The author definitely has no problems taking his audience on a roller coaster ride wondering what’s coming around the next corner. Not one time did I feel any negative effects of Stephen King being absent as a contributing writer.

Two very talented artists illustrate “American Vampire Volume 2.” Rafael Albuquerque returns from “Volume 1” to successfully tackle the first four chapters of this book, which make up the “Devil in the Sand” story arc. Mateo Santoluco picks up the pencils for the last two chapters that collect the story arc “The Way Out.” Santoluco’s art is comparable to Albuquerque and there’s not too much of a noticeable difference in styles. Both artists satisfyingly bring on the gore and vampire violence.

The “American Vampire” comic book series has quickly become the standard by which I judge all tales of the undead. The only books that I’ve read that even begin to touch this are the “30 Days of Night” ones. “American Vampire Volume 2” continues escalating Skinner Sweet to the top of the “Truly Scary Vampires” list. If there’s ever been an anti-thesis to the whole “Twilight” craze, it is “American Vampire.” I can’t wait for the movie!

You can buy “American Vampire Volume 2” right here.