Kate’s Review: “American Vampire (Vol. 3)”

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Book: “American Vampire (Vol. 3)” by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque (Ill.), & Sean Murphy (Ill.)

Publishing Info: Vertigo, February 2012

Where Did I Get This Book: I own it.

Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound

Book Description: In the Pacific, Pearl’s husband Henry joins a clandestine group on a secret mission to Japan to hunt a new breed of bloodsucker. Meanwhile, Skinner Sweet has plans of his own…

And in Europe, vampire hunters Felicia Book and Cash McCogan go behind enemy lines in Nazi-occupied Romania in search of a rumored vampire cure. Blood and bullets abound in this new collection from the Eisner Award-winning series!

Review: After being (once again) a bit turned off by the previous volume of this series, I was pretty sure I remembered that “American Vampire (Vol. 3)” got back on track in terms of my ability to ‘gel’ with the story at hand. Which is interesting, because in general military stories aren’t REALLY my cup of tea, and hoo boy does this volume REALLY get into the military themes. After all, as we are traveling through American history with our vampires and vampire hunters, it is now World War II.

We have two story arcs that contend with two of the war fronts during this time. The first is a story surrounding Pearl, her husband Henry, and that fucking asshole Skinner Sweet. Henry, feeling old and a bit left behind by his ageless vampire wife, takes up the Vassal of the Morning Star when they recruit him for a military mission in the Pacific: there is the potential for a new vampire threat on an atoll that the group wants checked out and cleared. What he doesn’t realize is that one of the members of the team is an incognito Skinner Sweet who wants to not only cause chaos, but also to get Pearl all to himself. Side note: we do get a background story with Skinner and his old west girlfriend Kitty, who looks a LOT like Pearl, but honestly I don’t give a shit about him and his man pain.

I DON’T CARE, BUDDY. (source)

This arc was good in the sense that it is basically nonstop action, and it has a lot of new vampire mythology exploration that felt really unique and grotesque. I really love how Snyder is creating subgroups of vampires and how they are all different based upon various factors, and I thought that the cat and mouse game between Henry, Pearl, and Sweet was interesting and tense to watch unfold. Because you know that once Pearl gets a whiff of Skinner potentially threatening the love of her life, maker or not, she is not going to sit by and let it happen.

The other arc is a bit earlier in time, an it involves Felicia Book and Cash McCoogan, together again after the terrible conclusion to their previous mission together: in which Sweet injected Cash’s very pregnant wife Lily with vampire blood directly into her womb, causing her to die in childbirth with a very vampiric baby boy named Gus. Felicia blames herself for hesitating on taking Sweet out, and Cash is desperate to keep his child safe, even if he is a feral monster child. The Vassals of the Morning Star has heard of rumors of a vampire cure in Nazi Occupied Romania, and the two of them are recruited to go undercover and try to see what’s what. They both have their reasons beyond loyalty to the group; Felicia is part vampire herself (as she was conceived when her father was in the throes of turning into a vampire, and it has affected her), and Cash wants Gus to be cured. THIS arc was the one I liked better, as it has some suspenseful moments of espionage, it has some really cool vampire world building, and I loved the tense relationship between Felicia and Cash as they are working together in hostile Nazi circles and contending with unexpected revelations.

But the biggest step up from the past volume is that Pearl finally, FINALLY, gets a bit more to do, and Felicia has her own riveting storyline and character arc that jumps off the page. It’s true that the last volume had a lot of Felicia (who is probably my favorite character in the series), but there was VERY little Pearl, and not only do we get to see her in vampiric action again, we also get to see her kick serious ass and come to aid her husband Henry when he’s in far over his head. I really love both of these women, who are dealing with their various guilts and insecurities and baggage, and I love that they get to take a bit of control over their situations, be it Pearl finally confronting Skinner Sweet, or Felicia seeking out a vampire cure so she can perhaps live a more normal life. And I also love the chemistry between Pearl and Henry, and the chemistry between Felicia and Cash. What can I say? I do love a nice romance, even if some are more tragic than others.

“American Vampire (Vol. 3)” gets the series back on track for me, and it both concludes some story arcs while also opening up the possibilities for others. The vampire lore is still fun and original, and it keeps reminding me of how much I love this series as a whole.

Rating 8: Two solid war time stories and more action for my gals Pearl and Felicia gets our series back on track.

Reader’s Advisory:

“American Vampire (Vol.3)” is included on the Goodreads lists “Weird War”, and “Vertigo Titles: Must Read Comic Books A-E”.

Previously Reviewed:

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