There’s a reason the cover of American Vampire: Anthology #2 is so simple: to be able to highlight just how many great creators are involved in making it happen. If you get this book you’ll be getting nine stories, all set in the American Vampire world, one of which is from series creator Scott Snyder. Sounds like a lot of content just in time for Halloween, but is it good?
American Vampire: Anthology #2 (Vertigo Comics)
So what’s it about? The Vertigo summary reads:
This special features nine amazing stories set in the world of AMERICAN VAMPIRE, with lost tales, new characters and old favorites. Series creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque will be joined by other amazing creators such as Kieron Gillen (The Wicked and Divine), Steve Orlando (MIDNIGHTER), Marguerite Bennett (DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS), Elliot Kalan (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Clay McLeod Chapman (Storage Space), and many more!
Why does this book matter?
If you’ve read my reviews of anthologies you know they are some of my favorite types of comic stories. That’s because you get a definitive beginning middle and end to a story, but also a variety of stories which increases the chances you’ll dig the entire work. What better way of getting inside many writers’ heads in one thematic format?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dude is creepy as hell.
If you casually flipped through this book you’d wonder if it took place in every important moment in history. From 18th century Japan to West Berlin 1963, this book covers a lot of ground and a lot of time periods. That makes each story feel quite unique from each other. This also gives the book a wide sweeping feel as if we’re reading the histories of vampires rather than any one tale. As a whole the book does well to establish the vampiric and demonlike creatures that infest the world.
Scott Snyder’s story opens the book with art by Rafael Albuquerque and it does establishes the disturbing villains well, but also the magic and mystery of this world. I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers, but it involves a single scene between humans and vampires. Albuquerque’s art adds to the dreamlike quality of the story too, which helps set the stage for the remaining tales.
The art varies quite a bit, but my favorite has to go to “Teahouse” by Joelle Jones with art by Christopher Mitten. The kimonos of the characters, along with the interesting hero, build towards an action packed tale. Mitten seems to press closer and closer in on our characters which enhances the chaos of the sequence, but also the disturbing nature of the vampires.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Like any anthology, some tales are better than others and that disparity is even more apparent when you read this in one sitting. The best stories in this bunch don’t tie as closely into the main narrative, but instead showcase a moment in time involving humans and vampires. Those that do feel out of place and less complete since they require knowledge of the main story. That said, many of these stories follow a similar narrative which goes like this: Human encounters baddie, baddie is vanquished by human, the end. That makes a few of these stories too close in plotting to make this book feel completely original.
This story tells me never to trust a tea house!
Is It Good?
This is a good anthology with plenty of freaky horror-themed elements to tide you over this Halloween season. American Vampire fans will most likely buy this without question, but really anyone can dig into this and get their horror on.