Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Blog: American Vampire Vol. 2 - review

A warm welcome back to Clark Nuttall with a new guest blog, this time looking at the second volume of the American Vampire series.

Writer: Scott Snyder

Artists: Rafael Albuquerque & Mateus Santoluoco

Release date 2011

The Blurb: Las Vegas, Nevada, 1936. Its days of glitz and glamour are still far off in the future. But with gambling, whoring and violent crime its chief economic activities, this rough and tumble town is already earning its “Sin City” moniker. And Cash McCogan, Vegas' tough-as-nails police chief, is out to clean it up – even if it means taking on the filthy rich consortium that's building the astonishing Hoover Dam just miles away.

There's just one problem: The Colorado River isn't the only thing near Vegas that's been “damned”.

First and deadliest of his breed, American vampire Skinner Sweet has set up shop in Sin City. It's his kind of town, a place where any thirst can be quenched for a price. But he's not the only vampire who wants to sink his teeth into Vegas. An all-out war is about to break out between some of the oldest and deadliest vamps in the world – along with a shadowy society dedicated to taking them all down for good.

When the dust settles, who will be left alive (or undead) to stake their claim?

The Review: Regular readers of Taliesin's blog will be aware he reviewed Volume 1 in this series some time back, but as yet hadn't obtained a copy of Volume 2. Thus it falls to me to further expand on the world and adventures of Skinner Sweet.

Taliesin referred to the “blocky” artwork in Volume 1 that he didn't particularly enjoy. Having not yet read that I unfortunately can't compare and contrast. I felt the artwork was easy to follow, possibly due to the introduction of Mateus Santoluoco as artist alongside Rafael. However, enough of that and on with the story.

Skinner Sweet is now in Vegas and running many of the seedier elements of a town not yet notorious, serving up women and gambling for the men involved in the building of the Hoover Dam. This, of course, brings him to the attention of police chief Cash McCogan. Cash finds himself being forced to work with 2 FBI agents, Jack Straw and Felicia Book to solve and prevent the murders of the 4 men in charge of the construction companies building the dam.

The storyline appears to follow elements of the first, in running 2 parallel stories, the other involving Pearl Jones from Volume 1, alongside said FBI agents.

We find out, as Cash does later during the ensuing mayhem, that they are actually agents from an order called the “Vassals of the Morning Star” and are out to destroy all vampires.

As I don't wish to spoil things too much for anyone who wishes to read it, all I will say is that Pearl “helps” the Vassals to discover that wood will not kill an American vampire, but she does disclose what will, which leads to a showdown between Old World vampires, an American vampire and a group out to kill all.

Anyone who read Volume 1 would do well to pick up Volume 2 and read what I feel is a welcome addition to the vampire in graphic novel form. There are twists and turns aplenty to keep the reader interested, and a preview of Volume 3, which I will be looking for as soon as possible.

I enjoyed this intensely and would happily give it 8 out of 10.

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