It feels like forever since I read an issue of American Vampire. While I remember the series starting off slow, it quickly became one of my favorite reads. The series showed off the talent of writer Scott Snyder and the artistic talent of Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig. It’s been years… and honestly, I don’t remember a lot of it. That’s both good and bad for American Vampire 1976 #1. The good is, you generally don’t need to know what happened. The bad is, you’ll want to find out.
Snyder returns to his take on the world of vampires as the series flashes forward to 1976. It’s the bi-centennial for the United States. Though it’s 44 years ago, there are some things that are the same as today. It’s 1976, the President is a criminal, the economy is in the shitter, China is gaining, and “Russia is handing us our balls.” Add in people joining cults, kids going missing and people “kissing the devil’s ring instead of the lord’s feet,” and you could be talking about today.
It’s interesting that Snyder chose 1976 for the series to take place. While the above about how similar of a time it is today does stand out, the reality is, it’s kind of the hook as to where the comic is initially going. The comic to start is the setup of a heist.
American Vampire 1976 #1 lays out the series in a way one might expect for an Ocean’s 11 film. The key players are introduced and their personalities laid out on the table. The problem is discussed and the solution is a heist as to the answer. Much of the comic is standard in that way but it’s done with such and style and attitude, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
But, what Snyder does that’s impressive is create a first issue that’s solid for new and old readers alike. If you remember everything that has happened, you’ll love jumping back in the world. For those that are new, there’s more than enough teased in explanations to understand what’s going on. You might not know specific characters and their connections but you get a sense what they think of each other and how they interact.
The cool of the comic is brought together through the art of Rafael Albuquerque and the colors of Dave McCaig. The comic art brings the 70s to life in its settings, clothes, and details. I can’t say how accurate the looks are, but it put me in the setting, and in the end, that’s what matters for me as a reader. The characters look like they haven’t aged a day since last I read the series, nor should they but to see their new style based on the era brings some fun with it.
What I really like about American Vampire 1976 #1 and the series as a whole is how it delivers action and the vampire aspect without going over the top. The issue has some gory fight scenes but never takes you out of the story. A head might be on the floor but it feels natural and maybe even downplays the gore a bit.
American Vampire 1976 #1 is a bit of the typical gathering of the key players story but it does it all in such an entertaining way both story-wise and look. It’s a fun reintroduction to the world of Skinner Sweet, the American Vampire, and has me wanting to go back and read what has come before. It impressively pulls off a debut that’s accessible for new readers and should excite longtime fans. Despite being years since the last chapter, American Vampire doesn’t miss a beat with its return.
Story: Scott Snyder Art: Rafael Albuquerque Color: Dave McCaig
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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