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American Vampire Volume 5 TP (American Vampire (Paperback)) Paperback – 8 Apr 2014
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"Looking for a vampire story with some real bite? Then, boys and girls, Scott Snyder has a comic book for you."--USA WEEKEND
"Very smart, knowledgeable stuff."--ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
"American Vampire continues to be one of the most exciting, bold and horrific new series"--BUZZFOCUS
"One hell of a satisfying package...a rich, textured romp through vampire Americana, in such a fun way as to suggest the possibilities of this vehicle are as endless as the lives of the undead."--IGN
"AMERICAN VAMPIRE is full of amazing dialogue and great characterization, simply an amazing book that begs to be picked up." --AINT IT COOL NEWS
About the Author
Scott Snyder has been published in Zoetrope, Tin House, One-Story, Epoch, Small Spiral Notebook and other journals. He most recently has co-written AMERICAN VAMPIRE for Vertigo/DC Comics, along with horror-master Stephen King, BATMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS and SWAMP THING.
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This story is illustrated by Dustin Nguyen who briefly exhibits his own style before coming into line and adopting the Albuquerque template. There are a lot of neat little artistic touches and some lovely sketched flashbacks. Even the lettering for foreign languages has some good ideas.
The second story concerns Pearl and what has happened following the attack on her home. This is a top quality piece of writing showcasing the emotions and relationships Snyder has a knack for. Where Pearl is, Skinner isn’t far behind, but he does feel criminally under, or even ill, used. The great thing about vampire stories is you get to bring people back from the dead. But do it too often and death loses its punch.
The third story is a one-shot that works as a fine interlude between bigger stories and dusts off some previous characters ready for a future storyline.
Albuquerque draws the second and third stories and his style has come to define the wonderful look of American Vampire. There are few surprises in his work but we like the comfort and dependability of his craft.
Overall this isn’t a bad volume. Snyder does historical America very well and being set in the 1950’s this leads to the great line of “undeads under the bed.” There is enough topical material to give you a sense of place and as the stories reference each other you do get the bond of a cohesive world.
Unfortunately Snyder doesn’t do so well outside the US and adventures in Britain and Europe exhibit some clangers. Some are partly conceits to smooth things over for an American readership but Gaelic is an adjective describing a language or culture not a noun for a person or nation. Small things.
There is a sketchbook at the back and variant cover gallery too.
Volume 5 contains 2 main story arcs. It starts with miniseries "Lord of Nightmares" and follows with issues 28-34 entitled "The Black List". The first story is what really brings this volume down making it the worst of the American Vampire series. It's not bad but it lacks the real magic of the series. It focuses on secondary characters Agent Brook of anti-vampire group Vassals of the Morning Star and her adopted son Gus and their run in with Dracula. While I feel this story is probably a mere set up for another bigger story I can't help but feel it's a little generic. Lord of the Vampires causing havoc in Europe. While definitely interesting this really doesn't have the aforementioned magic of the series. That being said nothing in this series is stand alone and I am very interested as to what Snyder will make in the follow up of this arc. While in the short term it may be damaging to focus on previously minor characters, in truth it gives Snyder the opportunity to develop other characters which will in turn open up a greater variety of stories he can tell.
The second story arc returns readers to America where Pearl Jones and her husband are in quite a bit of bother. Returning to California for the first time since the events of Volume 1 Jones must face a new coven with a mysterious head trying to destroy her and her family. Throw into the mix American Vampire Mark 1, the ever interesting but never trustworthy Skinner Sweet and you've got the makings of a good old fashioned American Vampire great arc. As this follows on immediately from the events of the last volume not much effort is made to capture the essence of the time but you are already so involved with these characters by this point no effort is really necessary.
As with the first 4 volumes Snyder and Alburuerque have provided readers with a well written, superbly drawn Vampire story that returns Vampires to their true gory glory and ignores the modern fashion of watered down Vampires with dull and superficial romantic tales. Instead you will find honest characters in well thought out story arcs surrounded by grand Americana. If you've never read an American Vampire story I think you could start with volume 5 and enjoy it but you would missing the greatness of 1-4 and you wouldn't appreciate all the subtleties of Volume 5. So why not start at the top. If you're already familiar with American Vampire you can expect a volume that isn't quite as good as the previous Volumes but is still very damn good.
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