John Buys Comics and Writes About Them

American Vampire No. 2

I picked up the first issue of this after Dave’s review, and I’m surprised that I needed that much incentive. I mean, flapper vampires and cowboy vampires in the same book? There is only so much strength in my feeble human form, my friends.

Of course, it takes more than a simple genre mashup to keep my interest, but Snyder and Albuquerque have that covered, the latter with some appropriately terrific art and the former by spinning out some very cool ideas about vampirism.

Every week, it seems, I reveal yet another facet of the already priceless gem that is my nerdliness (he wrote on his comics blog). This week: I know an awful lot about vampires! And as anyone who knows an awful lot about vampires knows, every damn country and people in the world seem to have their own distinct iteration of the bloodsucking fiend, ranging from Dracula-style goth dudes to flying heads to crazy cow skin-looking things that live in Peruvian lakes. Any story that does a halfway decent job of explaining why the above is the case gets bonus points, even if they aren’t as well told as [American Vampire] actually is.

Snyder’s explanation - that a vampire made from someone in a new place, living in a new way sometimes just turns out differently than the vampire that made them - isn’t precisely unique, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the concept expressed so simply before, and that counts for a lot. There’s no grand mystical hogwash surrounding it, just “different land, different vampires” and that’s very refreshing.

Meanwhile, Stephen King’s backup story is very fun in a couple of different ways, but I find myself focusing on the fact that having the story of Skinner Sweet set in front of us from the beginning does a very interesting thing. We now know the depths of Sweet’s evil, so though he can play out the trope of the mysterious, roguish benefactor whose dark past is gradually revealed in his dealings with Pearl, we are already in the know. Very very satisfying reading, with people biting each other to boot.

The Brave and the Bold No. 33 - That’s two issues in a row of this that I’ve really enjoyed, after a bit of a spotty patch. Cliff Chiang drew some fantastic stuff here, and his facial expressions were in the best possible way reminiscent of Amanda Conner's. HOWEVER: J. Michael Straczynski basically finished his lovely little story with THE END with five underlines - I’d recommend stopping at the Flash ad for a slightly more satisfying reading experience, or the JLA ad if you didn’t catch the point of the story by the Flash ad.

R.E.B.E.L.S. No. 15 - I think I’ll wait a bit to weigh in on the new status quo in this book. I’m really only writing this because i want to point out that Despero’s people all have really well-groomed facial hair and it’s a look that I like in a moderately sinister alien race.

Green Lantern No. 53 - See, this is why I was so pissy about Blackest Night. I have no idea how Brightest Day is going to turn out, but a comic like this, where Johns can play and be all portentous and not have to place each distinct plot point in a new issue, this actually reads well. It might not be the Police Procedural in Space that I want, but I’ll take Rainbow Space Opera, I reckon. 

The Tick New Series No. 3 - There is nothing bad about this series. Nothing. Read it. Benito Cereno and Les McClaine have done a fantastic job with this and I will praise them much more thoroughly when No. 4 comes out and I presumably will not be so sleepy.

Good night everyone!