The second volume of comic series American Vampire picks up in a new era of American history, allowing us to see how the vampires and their many different forms and feuds have influenced that history over time. But while this book was good, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the first volume. Maybe because I read that one a while ago and forgot some of the little things that had already happened, as well as some of the characters we had met? Or maybe the story itself just wasn’t as thrilling and compelling this time. I think it may have had a little to do with each. In any case, this second book in the series is comprised of two main stories, with certain characters and relations overlapping between the two, as well as connecting from the previous, first volume (which is to be expected).
In the first story, the tale of Skinner Sweet continues, this time focusing on his influence (as well as the influence of other wealthy and connected vampires) during the expansion of Las Vegas in the 1930s. Felicia Book, daughter of Abelina and James Book from the previous volume, becomes involved in the hunt for Sweet, as we learn of an organization known as The Vassals of the Morning Star (Lucifer? Is that you?); this organization works as a vampire-hunting group, studying the different evolutions of the vampire and how to kill each different type. Felicia and her partner, Jack, work with the young chief of police in Las Vegas (Cashel McCogan) after a string of murders appear to leave their victims bled dry. We soon learn how Skinner Sweet, along with other important people in society, have been working together and with vampires in order to fund the building of the Hoover Dam, and how these vampires have essentially allowed for the development of history of the “sinful” desert area.
The second tale of this volume once again connects us to Pearl Jones and her partner, Henry Preston. Pearl and Henry have found a quiet life with one another in a small town, but as Henry ages and Pearl does not, Pearl begins to wonder what their relationship should really be like, and if they should be together at all. Pearl has apparently been keeping her vampiric tendencies under wraps for a number of years, but when Henry’s life is threatened by a group of vampires trying to make a new flock of vampire recruits, she is forced to engage in the bloodlust again. Meanwhile, Pearl’s old friend, Hattie, who Pearl thought to be dead, is shown as a vampire as well, being tested on by another old vampire. Hattie appears to be the same type of vampire as Pearl, and so this older vampire wishes to use her to determine how to kill this particular breed. Hattie, however, has more vengeful ideas in mind.
While the stories are a little slower and maybe not told in a nearly as compelling story-form as the first installment to the series, the artwork of American Vampire is still on top form. The vampire fight scenes are particularly visceral, and a definitely favourite of mine. All in all, I did still enjoy this book of American Vampire, and am curious to see where it goes from here. Especially the storyline focusing on Pearl and Henry, as he gets older and older, and she stays the same, trying to be a human but knowing deep down that she is not. I don’t know why, but their relationship is just very interesting to me…
[Be sure to check out more reviews on the Cannonball Read group blog]