Review: “American Vampire: Second Cycle” #2

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A terrifying and suspenseful installment, “American Vampire: Second Cycle” #2 builds the horrifying tension of what’s to come. Readers should be prepared to see such vivid nightmarish imagery jump right off the pages. The “American Vampire” series hasn’t lost its edge after a long hiatus and actually came back more twisted than ever.

WRITTEN BY: Scott Snyder
ART BY: Rafael Albuquerque
PUBLISHER: Vertigo Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASE: April 16, 2014

Pearl Jones previously rescued an innocent little girl from a group of nasty hunters. The little girl, May, has deep bloody wounds dug into her soft skin. Trembling in fear, the girl whispers a name close into Pearl’s ear, making sure no one else hears her. The Gray Trader is coming and Hell is coming along with him. No human and no vampire is safe from this demonic monster. Pearl has to find information about this Gray Trader and warn everyone about him. But Pearl is actually too late to warn anyone. The Gray Trader is already here and the killings have just began.

Writer Scott Snyder has put together a riveting issue that quickly builds to a shocking twist. Fully developed as a character, Pearl is the anti-heroine who doesn’t want to get involved. She has already lost too muchand truly believes this isn’t her fight. She knows the Gray Trader means danger to both humans and vampires, but she doesn’t want to get drawn in. In tune to her maternal instincts, Pearl just wants to keep the unwanted orphans safe from the outside world.

In the previous issue, we just caught a glimpse of the antagonist in the climatic last pages. Readers are now presented with the Gray Trader and it is a dozy. I don’t want to give anything away but it is something you should definitely see. Right off the bat, you can tell Snyder is a John Carpenter fan and has created a creature that is cinematically mind-blowing.

Artist Rafael Albuquerque slowly paces the illustrations with suspense before finally revealing the scares. Music is such an influence to the time period even though there isn’t a soundtrack. In the opening pages, a Johnny Cash-type singer marches onto the stage. With the aid of Dave McCaig’s colors, the tones are important because they symbolize impending doom.

My favorite part of Albuquerque’s illustrations is when Pearl is tucking May into bed. Albuquerque illustrates the emotion and tenderness of the quiet scene as Pearl gently covers up May. Reinforcing the maternal theme, Pearl is horrified to see the scars on May’s back. Even though they are not related, Pearl wants to take care of May as if she was her own child.

A must read, “American Vampire: Second Cycle” #2 delivers the heart-pounding suspense and the shocking scares with outstanding style. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next issue.

 

Official Score