Scott Snyder’s American Vampire Volume 5


The Meteors playing “My Daddy is a Vampire” to clips of Christopher Lee (my favorite Dracula).

WARNING: SPOILERS!

The fifth volume of Scott Snyder’s American Vampire comic book series reminds you that time has been passing with each successive volume. It’s easy to forget because vampires are immortal, so they are drawn the same page after page. You really don’t get a concrete sense of time passing. Until now, Pearl’s husband, Henry, has been the only prominent character to show any signs of temporal wear and tear.

And if you didn’t notice in Volumes 3 and 4, it’s made painfully obvious in Volume 5, when a bedridden Henry, husband to American Vampire Pearl, flips through a picture album she has put together of their life together. They reminisce as the snapshots Pearl has laid out move them back through time to a photograph of Henry as a young, aspiring musician, and Pearl, an aspiring actress.

Volume 5 of American Vampire also temporarily places Skinner Sweet, the first American Vampire, in the role of “hero”. Granted, he has been coerced into the role but — and maybe it’s because of what transpires between him and Pearl — I want to say, it’s the first time we see a “gentler” side to Sweet. It’s like Sweet and Pearl have their own spin-off “buddy cop” series as they work together, trade quips and small talk, going from mission to mission for the Vassals.

However, after what “transpires” between them and it seems like maybe Snyder has finished reading the first Twilight book and it really moved him, so he wants to maybe have his own American Vampire version of the Twilight love triangle. But, just at that moment when you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that there will be an” American Twilight Vampire” series, he reveals that it was all just a ruse and we are his rubes. Skinner Sweet is who he has been all through the series: cunning and a step ahead of everyone else.

As Skinner and Pearl are eradicating vampire nests in California, Vassal Agent Hobbes is contending with the reawakening of a powerful Carpathian vampire that brought the other vampire species to the brink of extinction: Dracula.

Hobbes’ adventure in Europe actually comes before Skinner and Pearl’s. However, while it does a good job of setting up the next story, Hobbes and Felicia just aren’t as interesting as Skinner and Pearl. Injured after a break in at the Vassal’s London Bridge facility, Hobbes seeks refuge with Felicia Book (the grand daughter of the sheriff that hunted Sweet).

Together Hobbes and Felicia along with her son, Gus, hunt for Dracula who, in the American Vampire story, is a powerful Carpathian vampire, who can psychically link with others of his species and command them to do his bidding.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of multiple vampire species presented in American Vampire. In fact, in the story, the American Vampire is the next evolutionary step up from the Carpathian vampire. It’s made clear in Volume 1 that this is why Skinner is fighting both Vassals and vampires.

When Scott Snyder announced at last year’s New York Comic Con that American Vampire would be going on hiatus, I was disappointed that another series I had just caught onto was going away. A one-shot issue featuring vampire hunter, Travis Kidd (from Volume 4) , was published in June. There is a detailed review of it at Weekly Comic Book Review.

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