Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
American Vampire Anthology #1
Vertigo Comics (DC)
Snyder, Albuquerque, Aaron, Ba, Moon, Cloonan, Fawkes, Francavilla, Lemire, Leon, Lotay, Milazzo, Rucka, Shalvey and Simone
The massive, seventy page, eight dollar American Vampire one-shot hits with an A-list of creators taking their turn at the vast universe that Snyder and Albuquerque have created. Each story is a good to great one which is rare in an anthology that provides ten stories and makes for a very dense and satisfying read. While you get your bang for your buck with this comic book I wonder if it is really as accessible to the newbie as advertised.
The comic is bookended by Snyder and Albuquerque with a small feature about Skinner Sweet. Sweet is the showcase character in the series and the most intriguing part of this story is that it is set further out than any other story. Clearly this is the preview of what's to come for this comic when it returns from its hiatus.
The second story is by Aaron and Shalvey about the Lost Colony set some 400+ years ago. The story involves Native Americans and their encounter with the European vampires. Aaron knows how to write these kinds of characters and he is a natural fit for this series.
The third story is by Albuquerque and Milazzo and tries to tie together slavery, politics and the unknown of settling in Kansas during the nineteenth century. The story isn't as focused on vampires but they obviously show up.
The fourth story is by Lemire and Fawkes and introduces Canada into the world of the American vampires. It's a heart racing story and appears to drop an Easter Egg to tie this into the main series. Though the reference is almost unnoticeable in light of the thriller nature of the story.
The fifth story is by Cloonan and returns us to a different story about Sweet. Cloonan knocks this installment out of the park as she also proves that she is a natural for this series both on art and as a writer. This was one of the very best in the comic.
The sixth story is Francavilla and is very much grounded in the main series. As we've seen throughout the arc there are strong ties to early Hollywood and this story remains true to those roots.
The seventh story is the best one for my money. Simone and Lotay provide a truly disturbing and revealing story set back from the initial American Vampire arc set in Hollywood during the 1920s. This is a powerful story that shows Simone is as strong with character work as she is with dramatic backdrops.
The eighth story is by Ba and Moon and sets the stage in a different area of the country. The story is a good read but doesn't go much deeper than a character trying to get away from the vampires. Following Simone is an impossible task unfortunately.
The ninth story is by Rucka and Leon and looks to be more of the vampire chases man variety until the twist at the end. This was a dark read where the artwork really set an eerie but amazingly fitting tone for the story.
I've read this series from the beginning so this anthology is outstanding on every level. I would think that any one of these stories could be expanded into a mini-series or an arc and they would be fantastic. However, this book probably doesn't read that well for the curious reader. The A-list creators will draw in a broader audience and I fear that a lot of these stories read as simply vampire versus man. I'm not sure a casual reader is going to get how great this series is by simply picking this up. They should have made them more accessible if at all possible.
A great read. This series has been absent for far too long. This is going to be a great read for the hardcore fans and perhaps some new readers will jump on. This is well worth the big cover price. I recommend picking this up.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles