Thursday, September 9, 2010

American Vampire #6

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Rafael Albuquerque

I'm sure much of the commentary about this comic is going to focus on the fact that Stephen King is no longer contributing to the title, although I hope that most reviewers will agree with me that this issue proves he was not really needed to deliver an amazing comic.

With the book now his alone, Snyder moves the story to Las Vegas (after a strange introductory interlude) in 1936, while it is in the grip of its first huge construction boom, brought about by the advent of the Hoover Dam.  The story is centred on Cashel McCogan, the chief of police, who is having a hard time keeping control over the town.  He's recently been promoted after his father, who held the job before him, was killed in the line of duty. He is joined by two FBI agents sent to assist him (one with a familiar last name), just as an important member of the dam-building consortium is murdered by a vampire.  Another familiar face shows up at the end of the issue (kind of spoiled by the cover).

Snyder really captures the sense of a frontier town exploding under the weight of the huge influx of low-skilled labour needed to build the dam, at a time when the rest of the country is suffering through the Depression.  It reminded me a little of Deadwood (always a good thing), and provided a real sense of place to the comic.

Albuquerque's art is amazing.  I say that every month, but it's no less true.  I mentioned last month that this title would have to prove that it's worth the $4 a month when it became regular-sized.  While, if the book stays this good, it's not going to be an issue.  Note to DC though - using the shiny cover paper doesn't justify raising costs.  It's kind of insulting.

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