Thursday, September 29, 2011

American Vampire #19

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jordi Bernet

There were a few times while reading this latest issue of American Vampire that I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading an issue of Jonah Hex.  That title having been canceled and replaced by All-Star Western, I wondered where I was going to get my semi-regular Jordi Bernet Western fix, but I need look no further than this arc.

The Best in the Cave is set in 1871 (with a prelude happening before that), and features young Skinner Sweet as a soldier in the American army pursuing Hole in the Sky, a Geronimo-style Apache leader.

Sweet is accompanied by Jim Book, who was first introduced to us in the first issue of this comic, when he took Sweet into custody.  As it turns out, the two grew up together, Book's family having adopted Sweet after his parents were killed in the States War.  We see that Sweet has always been reckless and unpredictable, as he argues with his commanding officer about how to proceed in attacking the Apache, who are holed up on a cliff.  What no one knows is that something else lives on the same mountain...

I'm not sure how I feel about Book and Sweet being so close.  I want to reread Stephen King's chapters of the first arc, to see if this relationship was hinted at, or if it has been 'retconned' into the story.  I also wonder if we're going to see how Sweet was turned into a vampire in this arc.

It's great seeing Bernet draw a story like this.  As I said, the look and feel is very Jonah Hex, but Bernet's pencils seem a little tighter than in his Hex work.  He's a master when it comes to portraying this time period, and while I love Rafael Albuquerque on this comic, I can't imagine a better artist for this story than Bernet (perhaps John Severin).

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