Last issue may have had a bit too much exposition, but it seems to have paid off, as there is plenty going on here. Your favorite characters are back, Cashel’s just as lovable and established as Pearl and Skinner, and there’s still plenty of mythology-building going on.
The most striking scene in the issue is just a brief three-page flashback with Cashel’s recently deceased father. But these are terrific pages! Albuquerque and McCaig bring yet another style to the table. Albuquerque seems to have abandoned his pen for a brush, his linework is much cleaner than the surrounding pages, and McCaig cools his palette way down. These two set the right mood for Snyder’s touching scene. Now, some of the parallels between American Vampire and Jason Aaron’s Scalped may be apparent, like their love of American history, but this scene links another major theme together. Scalped has a trade called “Dead Mothers”, and American Vampire could easily have a trade called “Dead Fathers”. There was that brief, twisted flashback of Pearl’s father in the fields, and of course Felicia Book’s father is a major part of American Vampire lore. Now, we have this scene with Cashel’s father, and if you can read between the lines, you’ll know that being a father is going to be a major part of Cashel’s life as well. It’s powerful and intriguing stuff.
Snyder is starting to pack his 22 pages like his original 16, as this issue seems to be loaded with goodies. If all that subtextual stuff doesn’t interest you, the last two pages damn well better. And, needless to say, Albuquerque, McCaig, and Wands make it all look pretty.