Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Rafael Albuquerque
Colors by Dave McCaig
Published by Vertigo Comics
Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque have designed American Vampire: Second Cycle to be the perfect #1 in a series. People new to the series can jump on with this issue and not feel the least bit lost, but people that have kept up with it since the beginning won’t feel like they’re re-hashing things they already know about the characters they’ve grown so attached to.
We begin in the Mexican Territory of Arizona in 1811. There’s a native tribe stuck in a snow storm and they’re waiting for their scout to return from the pass in front of them to give them the “all clear” to move on ahead. What they don’t know is their scout will only return to warn them of an evil that’s headed their way, meaning their impending doom! Flash-forward about 150 years; we’re in Kansas seeing some familiar faces. I’m going to be spoiler-free on the details because I had a genuine smile on my face after seeing some of the old gang. You’ll just have to read it for yourselves to get the details!
Scott Snyder accomplished what he set out to do with this #1 and then some. I’m not totally caught up on the First Cycle of AV but I do have a basic understanding of the names and faces of the core cast of characters. I was worried that I’d be lost in this book because I wasn’t caught up, but at no point was I even remotely confused about the plot of the story. This is the perfect first issue. I’m really excited to see what Mr. Snyder holds for us in the Second Cycle, because I have the feeling that it’s going to be horrifying and it’s definitely going to be huge. I LOVE his work on Batman, don’t get me wrong, but I really get the feeling that books like this are his wheelhouse and his passion and it really shows in the layers upon layers of character building and intrigue he’s feathered into the second run of this series in just one issue. It’s absolutely brilliant.
There’s not a person in the world that could draw this book like Rafael Albuquerque. It’s one thing to make the action sequences look as badass as he does, but it’s the quiet, haunting moments that really shine. Every spectrum of human emotion is on display in this issue and he does a great job in conveying those onto the page. I felt everything that the characters in the book were going through as if it were happening to me. The whole thing is brought together by Dave McCaig’s beautiful work on colors too. The pallet he used is absolutely spot-on in telling not only a horror story, but a horror story set in the Old West. You rarely see the colors match the tone of the panels so wonderfully, but McCaig has managed to hit the nail directly on the head with his work in this first issue.
I’ll say it again, “THIS IS THE PERFECT FIRST ISSUE!” You definitely need to jump-on to this book now and this is the most opportune time to do it. Not to say you should just read from now on, you definitely need to go back and read it all, but this is the type of issue that will make you want to do that. I wish AMC would adapt this into a TV show seeing as they do such a great job with all of their properties, but I’ll definitely continue to love the hell out of this even if that never happens. This is a horror story that deserves to be talked about for years to come, and it most certainly will!
5 out of 5 nerds