on February 9, 2012
My favorite comic still running on the stands is easily 'American Vampire' and this third volume is the best collection they've released this far. Collected here is the next 7 issues (12-18) of the American Vampire comic as well as the five issues of 'Survival of the Fittest' (Snyder's spin-off series) making this a terrific deal for your $$.
The stories in this volume of American Vampire updates things in and/or around WWII. After a nice single story involving series antagonist (and american vampire) Skinner Sweet the action shifts to protagonist (and also vampire) Pearl Jones and her human husband Henry being recruited for a mission by the 'Vassals of the Morning Star' (a Vampire hunting group). In the story 'Survival of the Fittest' we see Felicia Book and Cashel McCogan (protagonist from 'Devil in the Sand') working as agents for the Vassals on a mission to rescue a scientist who may have a cure for vampirism.
While the vampire lore in this series is always cool and fascinating (dealing with the different cultures and breeds of vampires) what I really like about 'American Vampire's stories are it's fleshed out characters and how we keep getting different perspectives. Starting characters Skinner and Pearl are always compelling but it's especially nice to get Henry's point of view as he deals with aging alongside is vampire wife. 'Survival of the Fittest' stays focused on Felicia and Cash while getting more about the Vassals of the Morning Star (and prove you don't need Skinner to tell a great story in this series!).
As usual the artwork in 'American Vampire' is pitch perfect. Regular Rafael Albuquerque is at the top of his game with the series and just keeps getting better. Danijel Zezelj gives a nice guest-contribution to the opening story with Skinner and perfectly sets up the tone for the rest of the book. Sean Murphy's pulp-ish angles perfectly compliment the more action-packed 'Survival of the Fittest'. The violence in this collection of 'American Vampire' is vicious as usual but it never gets overbearing as Snyder and his artists know how to pace things out for full effect.
I really can't praise this collection enough. For people new to 'American Vampire' you'll want to start with the first collection. I thought the first was a bit uneven, but after the second volume 'American Vampire' became my favorite comic on the stands and this third volume only solidifies my feelings about this series (and again gives fans more bang for their buck by including 'Survival of the Fittest'). A must-buy!
on May 3, 2012
Scott Snyder is an awesome writer. This latest hardcover edition of American Vampire contains 12 issues and only cost $16. What a great deal! On top of the low cost, it is a great book! Snyder continues to use historical backdrops for his vampire stories, which is always such a pleasure to read. There is so much thought and detail put into the writing. It is obvious that Snyder knows his history. This book has a cool story with Skinner Sweet plus it contains the American Vampire 5 issue limited series "Survival of the Fittest", which is about Nazi Vampires. This book is well worth the money and this series is definetely worth checking out if you are into horror comic books...and for the record, these are cool vampire books, unlike the Twilight vampire books (I'm assuming the Twilight books are as bad as the movies).
on November 14, 2013
And now we come to the third volume of Scott Snyder's Vertigo comic series, American Vampire. Due to the nature of reviewing a series, this review will unavoidably contain spoilers for Volume I and Volume II, so be forewarned.
For the bulk of this book we are firmly set in the 1940s, exploring the vampiric undercurrent to the Second World War. But first, we spend an issue following Skinner Sweet in Strange Frontier as he takes the time to visit a traveling Wild West show a la Buffalo Bill. This particular show has his showdown with Jim Book as one of the moments it dramatizes, and after realizing that his old girl is part of the show Sweet decides to have some fun, even some old scores for himself and others.... In Ghost War we follow Henry Preston and Pearl Jones as they face the Pacific theater, where there are worse things than Japanese soldiers to worry about. Preston joins a secret mission for the Vassals Of The Morningstar to combat a new breed of vampire on Taipan, soon to be overrun by American troops. Along for the ride is Skinner Sweet, out to settle old scores.... Lastly, Survival Of The Fittest follows Felicia Book and Cash McCogan on a mission behind Nazi lines in search of a supposed cure for vampirism. What they find instead could destroy us all.....
This is every bit as awesome as you would expect it to be after reading the previous two volumes of the series. Snyder continues to keep things fresh and exciting. Albuquerque's art is a perfect fit for the series, rough and unrefined yet at the same time clearly communicating the action and proving to be surprisingly beautiful at times. Sean Murphy does a credible job of matching Albuquerque's style, keeping a continuity to the artwork that can't be easy to achieve. If you've been along for the ride since the beginning, by all means don't stop now! I very much look forward to seeing where this goes in future volumes, as soon as I can find a way to get my hands on them. This is the last one my library has in it's collection.....
Content: Same as before, R-rated language, violence that is occasionally gory and disturbing (what do you expect? It's a vampire book!), and occasional sexual content/nudity. I keep telling you folks, Vertigo comics aren't for kids.....
AMERICAN VAMPIRE, VOL. 3 consists of three distinct, yet connected stories. The first, "Strange Frontier," is a short-story of exposition set somewhere in the American West of 1919. Skinner Sweet visits a Wild West show (one that is almost directly patterned after Buffalo Bill Cody's). He's surprised at the inaccuracies of the show, particular the gunfight that led to his "death." So, Skinner does what he does best and sets things right. Then he confronts an old girlfriend of his whom he was told was responsible for turning him in. He discovers she loved him more than he ever thought.
The second story, "Ghost War," takes place during WWII. It mostly deals with Henry Preston and his wife Pearl Jones, but also involves Skinner Sweet. Henry has aged well for his age, but he is growing older and Pearl isn't. He's tried numerous times to join the military and fight in the conflict, but each time he's been rejected. Then one of the representatives of the Vassals of the Morning Star shows up and offers Henry an offer he can't refuse. He accepts the assignment and joins a special group of troops that have been selected to investigate a small island the Japanese control in the Pacific. It's rumored that the Japanese have been involved with some old school vampires and have bred a new type of creature. The Vassals want them wiped out and a secret war mission makes a great cover.
The third story in the volume is "Survival of the Fittest." Set in 1941, Felicia Book and Cashel McCogan team up to rescue a botanist in Romania who is rumored to have discovered a cure for vampirism. Posing as a pair of wealthy industrialists who have been supporting the Nazi cause, Felicia and Cash travel into the dark heart (Romania) of the Nazi Empire. There they uncover several surprises that threaten not only the outcome of the war, but the fate of humanity and vampires alike.
AMERICAN VAMPIRE, VOL. 3 is an enjoyable read. However, it's not quite as fascinating as the previous volumes. "Strange Frontier" provides a quick look deeper into the mind of Skinner Sweet and reveals that, perhaps, he never was as evil as the public has been led to believe. "Ghost War" is the strongest part of the volume. It has a lot going for it. However, even though the relationship between Henry and Pearl is the focal point of the story, it's not given the space it needed in this story. "Survival of the Fittest" moves the larger plot of the series along. However, other than one key development, it's completely predictable.
Both "Ghost War" and "Survival of the Fittest" end on a bit of a cliffhanger. It'll be interesting to see how these stories develop and crossover in the future.
on May 13, 2012
For this volume, we've moved up to WW2. we learn about some pretty disturbing vampires in Japan and what the Reich's been up to on the vampire front. Pearl kicks some ass and so does Cash (the lawman from Vegas from the last book). Great writing, great art. Read it!
on November 7, 2012
This has to be one of the best series that I've ever gotten into! The characters are fleshed out well and you're always in for an exciting ride with each volume. I don't think that I've ever written a review on Amazon since I've had an account (a long time), but I just HAD to put in a good word for this awesome series. There are no glittering vampires here, and the writers really get into many different species of vamps. The only downside is that I don't think that it would be easy for someone to pick up a later volume and understand everything, but, most of the stories can stand on their own.