American Vampire Volume 3 (DC/Vertigo) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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American Vampire Volume 3


Writer: Scott Snyder; Artists: Rafael Albuquerque, Sean Murphy, Danijel Zezelj

Apr 16, 2012 DC Comics Bookmark and Share

American Vampire Volume 3 collects issues 12-18 of the ongoing series from Vertigo as well as the American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest mini.

The contents are nothing short of stunning. When American Vampire first launched, it was easy to admire the unique take that Snyder (and then-collaborator Stephen King) had on the tired old vamp. The fact that Snyder has kept the energy, thrill, and suspense going after several years, building upon that rush from the gate rather than letting it fade away, is a credit to his sense of pacing, character, dialog, and long-term planning. Oh, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that the masterful Rafael Albuquerque is still the artist on the main title, and that the spin-off miniseries was drawn by Sean Murphy, who is not only a wonderful artist in his own right, but is equally adept at portraying Snyder’s tone and sense of drama as Albuquerque is. I’ll admit that I thought Albuquerque’s Volume 2 art took a step down (it was still great, mind you), but Danijel Zezelj (whom I admire greatly for his work on Luna Park) pinch-hit for Albuquerque for the lead-off chapter (issue 12), and does a fine job as well; it helps overall continuity that the chapter is more of a one-off tale about murderous American vampire Skinner Sweet, and not part of the next five chapters, which are linked.

The bulk of the book concerns vampire activity during WWII. Pearl Jones, the other (significantly less murderous) American vampire, and her husband, regular joe Henry Preston, get caught up in a military mission against the Japanese. It blends the urgency of the best war comics with the sheer shock and disgust of the best of horror comics, never leaving behind the human element (nor that unforgettable villain, Skinner Sweet, who tags along for the ride). The second extended tale, whiched comprised the Survival of the Fittest mini, is less Sgt. Rock and more James Bond, but still takes place in WWII, and concerns other players: chiefly Felicia Book, who has a complicated relationship with vampire-kind. She and Cash McCogan, a fellow agent in the Vassals of the Morning Star, an anti-vamp contigent, infiltrate Nazi Germany in search of a cure for vampirism.

Both extended tales are gripping, clever, and beautifully illustrated. Both use history as a wonderful backdrop to further the mythology that Snyder is building in this series (and check out this interview Snyder did with Under the Radar‘s Kyle Lemmon if you missed it). (

Author rating: 9/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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