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Book: “American Vampire, Vol. 8” by Scott Snyder & Rafael Albuquerque (Ill.)
Publishing Info: Vertigo, February 2016
Where Did I Get This Book: I own it.
Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound
Book Description: Vampires in space? It’s 1965. Pearl and Skinner escaped The Gray Trader with more questions than answers, and their search for clues leads them to … NASA! You’ve never seen vampires like this before!
Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque continue their epic Eisner Award-winning story, as Skinner Sweet and Pearl touch more of the key moments in American history.
Review: It really has been a trip returning to “American Vampire” after I fell off of it a few years ago. And when I was approaching the penultimate volume, “Volume 8”, I was a bit cagey about how I was approaching the end. Partially because I felt like Scott Snyder just introduced a storyline that, to me, seemed like it needs to have perhaps a FEW volumes to wrap it up in a way that didn’t feel rushed. But also because even in the face of this new storyline, there were some hanging threads that we hadn’t addressed (hello James Book as a vampire?). So I was nervous going in, having been burned in the past when a story seems like it had to wrap up really quickly, maybe before it was ready. But I’m happy to report that my hesitance was unfounded, because “American Vampire: Volume 8”, was a stellar entry to the overall mythos!
I remember looking at the cover of this and thinking to myself ‘oh come the fuck on’, but honestly Snyder did a really good job of building up a great narrative to send Skinner Sweet into outer space that I bought hook line and sinker while it mirrors American history. We are now in the mid 1960s, and the Space Race and Cold War is at the forefront. Pearl and Skinner had a nearly deadly run in with the mysterious Gray Trader, a vampire that has power, strength, and influence that neither of them has ever seen, and are now back with the Vassals of the Morning Star, who have tapped them to join up to help try and stop this new foe. This involves satellites, Russian surveillance, and a long sleeping creature called the Tiamat that could awaken at any time and prompt the Russians to send nukes flying to prevent it, even if it means the end of the world, with the Gray Trader actively trying to set the wheels in motion to make it happen. So the VMS, with Felicia Book back in play, want Pearl and Skinner to help prevent nuclear armageddon by keeping the Gray Trader’s movements at bay by working against the satellite surveillance Russia has been using to keep an eye on the Tiamat’s potential reawakening . And it is such a creative way to take on ideas of the Space Race and the Cold War and apply it to this story. It’s really one of the more creative ways that Snyder has approached significant moments in American history and compared and contrasted it within the vampire narrative, and he pulls it off within the story, even if that story ends with sending Skinner freaking Sweet into outer space. I believed the reasoning and I really enjoyed the story arc.But the most interesting and satisfying aspect of this book is a moment that I have been waiting for since I started “American Vampire” all those years ago: Pearl and Felicia Book finally, finally meet. And not only meet, but are teamed up on their own part of the Gray Trader mission that involves breaking into Area 51. TWO BADASS VAMPIRE LADIES TEAMING UP AT LAST?!?!?!
I love Pearl and Felicia as we all know, and I love how their differences and their differing perspectives and experiences both serve to bring out the best of them as a team. Whether it’s company woman with a lot of experience and leadership strength Felicia, or renegade but compassionate Pearl, there is no sexist bullshitting around with them being mistrustful or jealous of each other. They are very different, but their differences make for a fantastic team dynamic and I loved seeing them both come together and have their own mission. Their thread is the moment that shines the most in this volume and it has been a long time coming to see them together.
I know that the next volume of “American Vampire” is the final one. I THINK that we have pulled things together enough that we could be on the verge of sticking the landing. But at the same time, we still haven’t seen Jim Book in vampire form arrive to meet up with everyone else yet, so maybe I am anxious. Regardless, I liked “Volume 8” and what it did for moving the Gray Trader story along! Let’s see how Snyder wraps this all up!
Rating 8: Interstellar vampire horror with a dash of global peril and deepening conspiracy, “American Vampire, Vol. 8” is setting up a finale that has a lot of, uh, stakes in play.
“American Vampire, Vol. 8” is included on the Goodreads list “Vertigo Titles: Must Read Comics A-E”.