Review – American Vampire 1976 #1: Beginning of the End

Comic Books DC This Week
American Vampire 1976 #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

American Vampire 1976 #1 – Scott Snyder, Writer; Rafael Albuquerque, Artist; Dave McCaig, Colorist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: Scott Snyder has been synonymous with DC for so long that it’s hard to remember how it all began—with a Vertigo title called American Vampire, co-written by Stephen King. Yes, that one. Now, after an extended hiatus, that innovative vampire thriller returns for a final arc as we catch up with a diverse group of vampires and vampire hunters—some of which are one and the same. This includes, of course, the signature character of the series—Skinner Sweet, the roguish killer vampire who sired heroine Pearl decades earlier. Skinner lost his immortality in the previous arc and now ekes out a living as a stuntman chasing death, in debt to a group of racist rednecks and secretly hiding a baby alligator in his trailer. This could all be played for laughs, but Snyder manages to infuse the sometimes-villain with some genuine pathos as we see how the years have worn him down—along with the chaos of the times he lives in (something we can all relate to right now).

Dark beginnings. Via DC Comics.

The story is more mixed for some of the other characters who have come in and out of this book, with Snyder and Albuquerque making the most out of the setting of the book. A segment involving a disco that’s set up to kill vampires through the lighting may be one of the most darkly funny things I’ve read in a long time. Pearl doesn’t make her debut for a while, but when she does it’s a great scene as she and Skinner are forced to team up one last time against a bigger threat—along with the help of an old friend whose presence is not yet explained. If I have one complaint about this book, it’s not the writing or art. It’s that the pacing of the book is off due to the massive length of time between arcs. We have a compelling group of heroes, a terrifying villain lurking in the background, and a strong setup for a thrilling final arc. I think this book is a recap page and cast of characters away from being a perfect book, but I’d encourage a re-read before diving back into the world of American Vampire.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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