Saturday, June 16, 2012

American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1

Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Dustin Nguyen

It seems that the people at Vertigo are determined to turn American Vampire into the next Fables, spinning out into mini-series featuring peripheral characters a couple of times a year now.

This new series, Lord of Nightmares, is not exactly a sequel to the recent Survival of the Fittest, but it does (eventually) follow up on the character of Felicia Book.  This series opens in London in 1954 (the comic has been moving forward through the twentieth century since it began), and has Agent Hobbes, who we know as the head of the secret vampire hunting organization The Vassals of the Morning Star, meeting a strange American at an outdoor cafe.  Hobbes feels he has the upper hand in this conversation, until explosions make it clear that a recently purchased U-boat has attacked the Vassal's main London base, under the Tower of London.

Later, we see Hobbes in Paris, where he confronts Felica Book, who has been living under the radar for fifteen years with Gus, the vampire child she cured in the previous series.  Hobbes reveals that the attack involves Dracula, the King of the Carpathian vampires, and the series is underway.

I believe this is the first that Snyder has made reference to any fictional (and public domain) vampires before now, and I find it interesting that he decided to bring up Dracula in a spin-off setting.  When Hobbes first meets with the American guy at the cafe, he starts to call him Ren___ (it gets cut off), perhaps a reference to the character of Renfield from Stoker's classic.

Dustin Nguyen joins Snyder on art for this series, which is great news.  It's been a while since Nguyen has been on a project, which is strange, because he's a brilliant artist.  His work is great here, although his portrayal of Gus, who is supposed to be at least fifteen years old, makes him look way too young.  I wonder if there's a story-based reason for that.

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