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American Vampire #22

A comic review article by: Shawn Hill

The optimistic cover simply promises a "new storyline," and it's going to concern Travis Kidd, a 19-year-old from Las Vegas who we meet on the road in 1954. In his leather jacket. In the midst of a drag race. So Snyder and Albuquerque are playing with some pretty strong Americana clich├ęs here. Kidd is pale and vampirish, all dark shades and greased hair and attitude. He's James Dean by way of Elvis with a little freaky beatnik cool thrown in. 

The creators have more in mind than just a trip down memory lane, though, so the twists start to come when he gets involved with a pretty blonde and her messed up family. She's not in danger from Kidd after all, but rather it's her "family" that are the real freaks. There's more than a little whiff of Near Dark here on these desert roads (how ridiculous for vampires to congregate in arid, sun-blasted lands, isn't it?), just a load of genres that Snyder is mixing in and spitting back out to make his story new.

If Kidd, vampire killer, is our hero for the next story arc, we could do worse. But we need to know more about him, and this issue spends more time killing vamps than it does delving into character. Albuquerque's expressive style goes quite far at capturing the bizarre mix of the demonic with the tediously mundane (the evil vamps terrorizing Piper are in their pajamas and robes, and they're old and out of shape and apparently Italian). McCaig's colors go far to enhancing the sense of horror at moments in the story: the drag race seems lit only by dim moonlight and unreliable head lights, the parental house is all claustrophobic shadows until Travis pulls the shades, and Piper is a blond vision in a big, soft pink sweater.

How weird does the generation gap get when some of the "parents" are bloodsucking immortals? I'm sure we'll see, if Travis survives his lone wolf approach to his mission to stake.

 


 

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at Cornekopia.net.

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