By: Scott Snyder (writer), Rafael Albuquerque (art), Dave McCaig (colors), Steve Wands (letters), Joe Hughes (assistant editor) and Mark Doyle (editor)

The Story: New story arc on American Vampire as we jump forward to World War Two and get a little more secret vampire-hunter society action.

What’s Good: So many great things about this issue that it is hard to know where to start, but let’s begin with Albuquerque’s art.  It isn’t as if the stand-in artists on AV the last few months have been poor, but it is really nice to have regular artist Albuquerque back.  What I love about Albuquerque’s art (and McCaig’s colors) is that you can still really see the linework.  A lot of comics nowadays are so cleaned-up and sanitized that you can’t see the passion of the artist.  Well, that’s not at all a problem with Albuquerque’s work on AV.  His characters are so vital and alive and he doesn’t have an inker or colorist screwing them up.  Also interestingly, for the first time this month I looked at AV and saw a LOT of Joe Kubert in Albuquerque’s work.  Maybe it’s been there all along, but seeing WWII scenes really brought it home.

And, what a great WWII story it looks like weren’t going to get too!  First, this appears to be a great jumping on point as the first two pages give a nice recap of the series to date.  If you’ve been watching AV from the sidelines and were intimidated by seeing #13 on the cover, just buy this issue and start here.

Second, by jumping the action forward to WWII, the ageless nature of vampires is really driven home by seeing the changes in Henry (Pearl’s husband).  Skinner Sweet & Pearl both look like the day we first met them (decades ago in the comic), but Henry is starting to show his age.  He isn’t OLD, but he looks a lot more senior than Pearl, he’s having to face the fact that he is aging and she is not.  Probably a lot of comic fans can identify with the feeling of not being quite as young as you used to be!

Third, the “mission” that Snyder sends Henry upon is very compelling and starts to scratch an itch that has been growing for the last few issues: What is AV all about?  Well, let’s just say that Henry is not going to be a run-of-the-mill grunt fighting on a random Pacific atoll.  His mission is really cool and ties into the secret society of vampire hunters that we learned about in the last story arc.  This overarching story may be the skeleton that the AV story will need as it moves into its ‘teens’.

What’s Not So Good: Really not much.  The only thing that bugs me is Henry’s reluctance to become a vampire to be with his wife.  This isn’t so much Snyder’s fault, as this is a common theme of vampire fiction, but I think it could use a narration box or two explaining why Henry doesn’t want to become a creator of the night?  Maybe he’s grossed out by blood?  Maybe he has religious issues with such a transformation?  Maybe he doesn’t want to have to start preying on hobos?

And, maybe this will all be explained in the next couple of issues.  🙂

Conclusion: American Vampire trots out another great issue.  This is also a wonderful jumping on point if you’ve been missing out on the fun.  Secret missions in WWII involving vampires and secret societies!  What could be more fun?

Grade: A-

– Dean Stell

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