American Vampire: Second Cyle #1 (Comics Review)

Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque’s American Vampire is a series that I’ve wanted to read for a good long while, but never really got around to. As a fan of both Scott’s writing and Rafael’s art, the series is high on my list of series to read, but I keep putting it off. I did read the anthology one-shot last year, which featured stories from a multitude of writers and artists, and that was pretty good. It introduced me to the characters and the setting, and did something refreshing with the vampire/horror genre, something different from the norm.

Recently the two creators have begun the next big arc of the series with American Vampire: Second Cyle and the second issue came out this week. I haven’t been able to get around to that one yet, but I did manage to read the first issue and my curiosity is now piqued. As an intro to all the characters, this issue is pretty damn good and I found it to be an easy read as a new reader. Plus, all the artwork from Rafael is pretty much above par from what I was expecting, having already seen it in the anthology one-shot last year.American Vampire - Second Cycle 01The opening pages of the comic pretty much set the tone for what is to follow, and also provide the mystery hook that the characters Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones have to deal with it later on. There is a new breed of monsters abroad in the world, a bred that has been around for a few decades and is finally beginning to rear its ugly head as far as Skinner and Pearl are concerned. The new first issue doesn’t go into depth who these monsters are and what they intend to do other than just sweeping people away for whatever nefarious purpose, but then, that’s not the point here. The point is to build the mystery and provide some really chilling moments for the reader.

The best part of this comic is how well both Skinner and Pearl are introduced. One is a highway hooligan and the other is a former actress who is now a ranch owner of sorts. For someone like me who isn’t really familiar with these characters, this new comic starts off in the best way possible by alternating the view points of both of them and letting the reader get a feel for who they are, what they are, and what their goals are. There is a fair amount of monologuing from both of them which serves as a necessary info dump but also as a catch-up, so I didn’t mind it all.

In fact, Skinner’s monologue to a skeleton and Pearl’s monologue to a runaway girl is quite fascinating indeed because of how they tell their story. Skinner goes for something overblown and dramatic while Pearl goes for something much more subdued but also much more exciting. I’ve read a fair amount of work from Scott to date, whether we talk about his ongoing run on Batman or Superman Unchained or his The Wake with Sean Murphy, and his writing has always been impressive. He really gets into the skin and mind of his characters and it is as if they are telling the story. All very natural and on point and pretty much perfect. Of the four series though, I have to say that this issue stands out as one of the absolute best that he’s written. And if this one is so good, then I can only imagine how good the rest of his run has been.

Joining Rafael on the pencils is Dave McCaig with the colours and Steve Wands with the letters. Rafael’s pencils all the way through are pitch-perfect. Scott gives him ample opportunity to flex his artistic muscles, portraying a variety of locations and characters to draw upon. Every page is a master page, and I say that with unabashed enthusiasm. I loved his work here as much as I’ve loved it on any other series that he has worked on to date. And the same goes for Dave McCaig too. His colours always match the tone and mood of the whatever the story is on the pages and he really brings out the best of the artwork, whether it is the locations or the characters. And the overall effect is very creepy and horrific, especially the pages with the monsters. Damn.

For my money’s worth, this was an excellent comic and I’d definitley recommend it.

Rating: 9.5/10

More American Vampire: Anthology #1.


Posted on April 28, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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