Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Booknote: American Vampire, Volume 5

Scott Snyder, American Vampire, Volume 5. New York: DC Comics, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-4012-3771-4. 

Genre: Graphic novels and comics.
Subgenre: Horror, vampires.
Format: Print. Trade paperback.
Source: My workplace library

This volume has two stories: One story features VMS (Vassals of the Morning Star) Agents Hobbes and Book attempting to stop Dracula from rising again. The second story features Pearl Jones, the vampire Skinner Sweet created, who joins him and the VMS to destroy a vampire coven, the one that attacked her husband and her.

On the Dracula story, I had a bit of a hard time suspending disbelief. The VMS could have destroyed Dracula, but instead put him in a sealed vault after draining his blood. That was pretty much asking for someone to break in and break him free. I guess the story needed the plot device to move forward. What makes me think is that, in the end, so many vampire comics have to give that one nod to Dracula. The story overall is not, but that detail threw me off a bit in the way a villain in a James Bond movie always takes the time to explain to a captive Bond the entirety of the evil plan. That aside, when the comic goes in depth into some of the vampire lore, it does get interesting if you enjoy attention to detail, and Snyder is good about paying attention to the details. In the end, VMS, as other fools, thought they could exploit Dracula's power. Perhaps this could reinforce the old lesson of never leaving an enemy alive. In the end, this one was a good tale.

In the second story, Pearl joins the VMS, mostly out of necessity. She will work on hunting down vampires in Hollywood. By now the stories have moved into the 1950s. One of the strengths of the series is how well it captures the time periods as the characters longevity leads them from decade to decade. As we read this story, we do find some surprises and some revelations from the past. There is good action in this one as can be expected in the series.

Overall, the series continues to be one to keep on reading. Snyder manages to bring a bit of history with the vampire tale; things get interesting as the series moves forward over time. As I have written before, this is a series where the vampires do not sparkle. Vampires here are scary, yet some like Pearl show a bit of good and humanity. Snyder does give complexity to his vampires. In the end, this is a great addition to the series.

It is a series I would add to my personal collection. It is a solid choice for libraries with graphic novels and comics collections. There is enough in this volume that you do not have to have read previous volumes, but you may want to seek out previous volumes anyhow if you are starting here.

This is one I give the full 5 out of 5 stars. 

This book qualifies for the following 2015 Reading Challenges I am doing:

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