Thursday, March 29, 2012

American Vampire #23

Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

American Vampire #23 (January 25, 2012)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Penciller: Rafael Albuquerque
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher

After completing my review of American Vampire #22, I was so excited to continue exploring this universe and getting my hands on as much of it as possible. Luckily, I’ve been able to receive both American Vampire graphic novels and read more of the single issues.

And then I promptly didn’t write reviews of any of them.

I almost think that I’ve been enjoying them so much that I didn’t want to write about them or delve any further into these issues. Some people argue that once you critique a work of art, it ceases being a work of art. I don’t agree with that normally but I was reluctant to view American Vampire as anything other than smart, entertaining reads. But that’s rather selfish of me.

So, I revisited American Vampire #23, and fell in love with it all over again.

This was one of the most action-packed and exciting comic book issues I’ve read in a very long time. Snyder balanced a thrilling (and beautifully illustrated) car chase with two levels of flashbacks: the day before in which Piper, who I previously accused of suffering from Women in Refrigerator syndrome, begs Travis to join him in his vampire hunting, and Travis’ painful childhood in a sanatorium. Interspersed with all this is Travis’ smart, witty and smugly teenaged inner monologue.

Travis is a refreshing character to read: unapologetically driven, unsentimental, and with a bit of a death wish. He wants to avenge his family, killed by Skinner Sweet, a very powerful and frankly terrifying vampire at any cost, even his or Piper’s death.

Piper, on the other hand, I’m still unsure about: the fact that she wants to join in on the vampire hunting is promising though I still view her as a predominantly weepy, scared victim. Things happen to her, rendering her rather passive. I would love for her to exhibit some agency. Still, I find myself caring about her and hoping for the best.

The art by Albuquerque and colors by McCaig are fabulous and quite frankly, beautiful. I so thoroughly enjoy looking at this and the other issues, even well after I’ve read them multiple times. I almost want to put the covers and certain panels on my walls. But I am no longer a 12-year-old girl so I must show some restraint.

Anyway, if you haven’t picked up any American Vampire, what are you waiting for? If only this series had more female characters with agency, it would quite literally be perfect.

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