While trafficking in a bestselling sub-genre, AMERICAN VAMPIRE introduces a new strain of vampire — a more muscular and vicious species, born of the American West.
It’s Las Vegas circa 1935, and Skinner Sweet and our gal Pearl are about to learn the hard way that the bloodsuckers in Hollywood were nothing compared to what awaits them in Sin City.
In just a few short years, young police Chief Cash McCogan has watched his native city of Las Vegas go from cow-town to wild, glittering boomtown. And when the bodies of prominent businessmen start showing up drained of blood, Chief McCogan finds himself facing a threat much darker and deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . . and the only sure bet in town is that Skinner and Pearl are right in the thick of it.
The thing I love about these comics is how little they try to sugar coat everything. Taking place in Las Vegas during the 1930’s, Skinner Sweet has made himself a rich and powerful force thanks to booze, gambling and prostitutes. After all, where else should a devil call home other than the city of sin. But for once, the story isn’t as focused on Sweet. Instead it’s about the new police chief, Cash and how he’s dealing with the grief of his adoptive father’s murder and the anticipation of his wife’s pregnancy.
Time jumps are probably my biggest problem with this series. Sometimes the jumps are so subtle, that it’s not until later on that you realize what you read came from a future or past event. I won’t lie, I wish the timeline was a bit more streamlined because it just doesn’t read as well when it hopes a couple of years/months here and there.
Also I liked Pearl in the first volume of this series, but now I can’t help but feel she’s become quite pathetic. I’m all for proving that vampires don’t have to be a source of evil, but come on. You’re still a freaking vampire and feeding on your husband for the past decade shouldn’t have been enough to sustain her. Not only that, but her story line in this book was dull. A lot of lovey dovey moments as she has to deal with the turning of time and how it must be affecting her human husband. The only interesting part of her story is actually the realization that an old “friend” from her past is back in the picture and looking for revenge.
One of the best things about these comics is the dark elements that are in them. Not only in the actual story, but also within the artwork itself. The harder, heavier lines add a bit of intrigue and seriousness to the story. I’m also quite fond of their exploration within the different races of vampires. Sweet and Pearl are a new breed among the vampire community and the vampires who are seeking out to destroy them, are quite reminiscent to what is the more traditional view of what a vampire is. Meanwhile, this particular volume goes one step further and introduces an ancient type of vampire into the mythology. One that can maintain human form, walk in the sunlight and at dark transform into a huge bat-like beast. The variations within the mythology are both exciting and interesting. I honestly can’t wait to see what else they come up with.
Purchase the first volume: