Besides the newfound audience recognition for Scott Snyder, who’s proving he’s not just some one-hit wonder on Detective Comics, the breakthrough star of this series is Rafael Albuquerque. Rightly so, as he and Dave McCaig are producing some career-best work, even though Albuquerque’s “Lil’ Leaguers” are not to be missed. And this issue is definitely built for Albuquerque to shine. This is the biggest smackdown we’ve seen yet. You’ll see all kinds of different vampires and then witness their horrific death, and this is only the second arc, people! I’ve mentioned Albuqerque’s scratchy use of his pencil and ink, and that style is perfectly suited for the chaotic action. There’s great fluidity in these pages, which makes for a lively spectacle of vampire-killin’ fun. Which is not to say that Albuquerque can’t handle the static, more picturesque moments. There are a few splash pages near the end that proves as much.
So, obviously, you could forgive the understandable groan that might come from Albuquerque’s absence during the next two-issue arc. Filling in will be Mateus Santolouco, a fellow member of the Brazilian mafia. He actually renders the first three pages of this issue. His style is less scratchy, and more traditional, but Mateus has Albuquerque’s sense of style. One might even be forgiven for believing Albuquerque had drawn the pages. Dave McCaig, of course, helps tremendously. With these three pages, and a few samples, I’m confident the moans won’t be too loud during the next arc.
During all the fighting and artistic showcasing, Scott Snyder keeps the dialogue terse and humorous, while always building on his characters and mythology. I won’t spoil the post-battle culmination, but let’s just say it neatly ties into the arc’s opening scene, and that fatherhood theme I’ve been talking about for awhile. Yep, I am pretty cool, and so is this book. Oh, and if there are any of you out there who are thinking of quitting after the first trade because your precious Stephen King is missing, keep reading. Snyder’s “Devil in the Sand” is even better than the first arc.