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American Vampire Second Cycle #10

Review by Paul Bowler

After evading a gruesome fate Pearl Jones and Felicia Brook must escape Area 51 in American Vampire Second Cycle #10, just as Skinner Sweet’s mission into space with Agent Poole to recover film from a Russian satellite before the Grey Trader’s agents hit’s a snag. The space walk to the satellite holds a nasty surprise for Skinner and Poole, when they open the hatch and they find vampires waiting inside for them! As the war with the beast reaches space, loyalties are tested, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance…

The smash-hit Vertigo comic book series American Vampire Second Cycle reaches a major turning point, as #1 New York Times best-selling writer Scott Snyder and acclaimed artist Rafael Albuquerque bring Pearls and Skinners mission in 1965 with Felicia Brook, the director of the Vassals of the Morning Star, to its penultimate stages as the conflict reaches the cold vacuum of space. Vampires in space, bloodletting, and dramatic events in Area 51 collide as the cold war, the space race, and the menace of the Grey Trader conspires to drain every last drop of blood from the century’s boldest decade for mankind.

American Vampire Second Cycle #2 (Cover)

American Vampire Second Cycle #10 is one giant leap for vampire-kind as Skinner’s mission with Pool unfolds 22,346 miles above Earth, as they battle infected Carpathian vampires the Russians put in space to protect the Okrahna. Skinner and Poole face a violent, no-holds-barred, struggle for survival, as the fight to get the film and the perils of zero gravity tests their strength and resolve to the limit. Back on Earth, the action continues at an equally break-neck pace inside Area 51 as Pearl and Felicia confront a chilling realization about their mission.

Scott Snyder pitches the action and drama in this issue of American Vampire perfectly. Its edge-of-the-seat stuff, the simultaneous pressing of two buttons at critical junctures is a masterstroke in tension, while the optimism of Pearl’s argument with Felicia dices with Armageddon as Skinner and Poole risk everything for one last shot at survival. Dark Moon Part 5 is one of Snyder’s finest issues of American Vampire, a number of key plot strands are skilfully brought together, the strong characterization really shines though, and the way elements from this American Vampire story arc begin to fall into place is handled brilliantly.

Rafael Albuquerques incredible artwork for this issue delivers some of the most striking visuals we’ve ever scene in the series. Most notable of course, are the scenes in space with Skinner and Poole fighting infected vampires. When Skinner cuts loose against his attackers, with the Earth and the Moon gleaming behind them in the icy void of space, it makes for a spectacular sight, and it’s not long before globules of blood are floating amongst the stars. Pearl doesn’t pull her punches either, as she fights her way though Area 51 alongside Felicia and the facility provides a fittingly grim setting for one of the issues most pivotal scenes. Dave McCaig’s colors are stunning, vividly bold while also impressively subtle, the shadowy blue-grey bleakness of space contrasts perfectly with the sombre, grimy palette for Area 51, and the fantastic sight of Skinner and Poole floating almost silhouetted in front of the moon is simply breathtaking.

American Vampire: Second Cycle #10 builds to a double-edged cliff-hanger, where a nerve jangling high-octane chase begins, and betrayal strikes as Skinner grows dangerously close to succumbing to his infection. Full of stand-out moments, with its exciting story by Scott Snyder and outstanding art by Rafael Albuquerque, American Vampire Second Cycle #10 is another brilliant issue of this acclaimed series!

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Art: Rafael Albuquerque

Color: Dave McCaig

Letters: Steve Wands