Running for over a decade now, American Vampire sure does have legs. In its latest 12-part series, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque bring back many of your favorite characters in a horror action-adventure series with plenty of twists. The series aims to show how a few vampires might save the world from doom and that threat is underneath our feet. American Vampire 1976 #4 is out this week and it gets the band back together, so to speak.
This issue takes a surprising jump from the last issue as it brings all the characters together seemingly out of nowhere. It’s a genuine surprise, and so noticeable I made sure I hadn’t missed an issue. That may be on purpose since the reader is playing a bit of catchup while the crew prepares for a mission. Flying to the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps, Snyder establishes what’s at stake, who the Council is, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Meanwhile, the narrative cuts to the President of the United States, which serves as a reminder the monsters under the Earth are closer to taking over than we think.
This issue is largely a table setting issue, for better or worse, save for a flashback scene to help flesh out a character and show their ties to old Hollywood. The book stews in myth and possible monsters we’ve never heard of, which helps add to the adventure feel of the book.
Rafael Albuquerque does well to amp up the stakes with key reveals of the big bad in the narrative, as well as create spine-tingling moments. There are ancient secrets yet to be revealed, even to these very old vampires, and Albuquerque lets those elements crawl under your skin. Most of this book is set inside a cramped airplane and it can feel stuffy, but the acting of each character by Albuquerque keeps emotions high and interesting. There is an exciting ending (though it does hinge on an incredible set of circumstances), which amps things up enough for the enticing cliffhanger.
I continue to marvel at Dave McCaig’s colors, which add stark contrasts between scenes. There’s a good sense of distance and volume, particularly in scenes with characters stacked on top of each other inside the plane.
American Vampire 1976 #4 is a bit wonky, with an opening that seemingly left out an entire scene, an ending that requires a lot of luck, and much of it focusing on characters talking in a cramped airplane. It’s a table setting issue in many respects, but where it does set the table best is in some key reveals of the main villain. The stakes are only higher by the issue’s end and this issue serves as a turning point in the narrative that’ll only get better with the next issue.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!