Review: American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1

Even Vertigo has to get saddled with that ugly Green Lantern banner, and why isn’t Felecia Book wearing pants on that cover? It’s misogyny! That said, Scott Snyder’s done a pretty good job providing some kick-ass heroines, and he continues to do that here. That is Felicia Book on the cover, along with Cash from the second arc in American Vampire. This is their story of vampiric World War II, while Pearl and Henry have theirs in the main series. This is the most we’ve seen of Felecia so far, and besides being an aforementioned badass, Snyder establishes the burden of her father’s curse. In the first arc, Felecia was conceived after Jim Book had become an American Vampire. Also dealing with the ramifications of Skinner Sweet’s actions is Cash, who’s having to deal with vampire problems that are a bit heartbreaking. Felicia and Cash are bound not just by their previous team-up but by that unified problem.

Taking the place of Rafael Albuquerque and Dave McCaig is the artistic team behind Joe the Barbarian: Sean Murphy, who captivated readers during that Grant Morrison series, and Dave Stewart, the best colorist in the business. Besides just being a new superstar, Sean Murphy is actually a smart fit for American Vampire, since he has that scratchy ink style that Rafa often uses. Dave Stewart colors things similarly to Joe the Barbarian, which gives the feeling that this is a less fanciful version of that great looking comic. That’s not to say that Sean Murphy doesn’t impress, however. You’ll notice on that cover his brilliant design work on display, with terrific outfits for Cash and Felecia, who looks great pantsless! That scratchy style of his also does wonders for the one action scene in the book, and nobody can beat that Dave Stewart blood red.

The cliffhanger at the end of the issue hits home the problems of the two protagonists established throughout the issue. Even new readers should care about both of them, with the promise of Murphy & Stewart rendered Nazi vampires to whet the appetite. It’s a setup issue, but a darn good one.

Grade: A-

-Bruce Castle

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