Pick of the Week
What did the
- Pick of the Week - 05.15.2013 - Edgar Allen Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher #1
- Pick of the Week - 05.08.2013 - Thor: God of Thunder #8
- Pick of the Week - 05.01.2013 - Animal Man #20
- Pick of the Week - 04.24.2013 - Uncanny Avengers #7
- Pick of the Week - 04.17.2013 - Captain Marvel #12
Art and cover by SEAN MURPHY
Size: 32 pages
If Sean Murphy isn’t nominated for an Eisner for the work he did on this series, the entire affair is a sham.
I can say that, of course, because Scott Snyder has already won his. Not that others shouldn’t be forthcoming.
I picked up this issue, and noticed that it was the last of what has been a very good mini-series, and while I was sad to see it end, I was very excited to see if Snyder and his team could continue spinning those plates. I love a good ending, and for some reason, history mostly, I had a good feeling about this one. For a reader like me, this comic book had everything I could ask for. It took place in Europe during World War II. It has truckloads of Nazis and the variant Nazi vampires, and they’re all slaughtered. It’s got a tough guy hero just trying to do the best for his son, also a vampire, and a tough, smart, and quite frankly very sexy heroine who is also just a little bit vampire. In the end though, this series, and this issue in particular was a hell of a lot of fun. It had sci-fi action, using the sun gun to clear a path through the mountain shows while atop a motorcycle with a side car. It had a very noble sacrifice, by a character who chanted the Star Spangled Banner while marching head on towards his probably death. It strode the line of goofy and pulp and action all at once, and did so perfectly. It left me wanting more and glad to see a conclusion.
All of that stuff, the story, the writing, the characters, the pacing, and the moments were all wonderful. But the real story here was Sean Murphy.
I’m not kidding you when I say that this is one of the best drawn books I’ve seen in recent memory. Over and over through the pages, I saw panels and depictions that just floored me with delight. Even now, I’m looking at spreads of giant ancient vampires wreaking havoc at a Nazi castle, while a motorcycle flies through the air in the foreground, and I’m shaking my head the same way you do when you hear your favorite guitarist playing something beautiful. It doesn’t hurt one bit to have Dave Stewart on rhythm, providing what are consistently the best colors in the industry. Every page is a little masterpiece, bustling with energy and excitement. There’s no one else out there doing art that looks like this, but at the same time, it feels familiar, and classic, and just right. I can’t wait to see what Murphy does next, because so far, I haven’t seen something he can’t do. But if he wants to stick with castles and motorcycles and airships in the 40s, I’m OK with that too.
There was just one moment though, where this pick was cemented. When Book makes her escape, and she’s been rescued from the side of a mountain, you flip the page, and it’s a mostly black, one-panel page with no dialog. It’s a cinematic quiet moment, and it was so perfectly executed that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it done so well. It’s a little capstone on the whole mini-series before we hit a brief, but necessary epilogue. I’m not kidding you. I gasped, as if I’d just tasted something wonderful.
So, like I said, Eisner. Seriously.
I’m guessing that many of you, particularly folks who don’t read this series, saw the Pick of the Week, and thought, “Snyder again?” You’re not alone. Normally, at this point, it gets harder to write about the work of one guy over and over. And yet, that’s not happening. What I’m reading in Batman and Swamp Thing is not what I’m reading in American Vampire or Severed. All of it is good. Actually, it’s a little bit eery. You start to doubt yourself as a reviewer, and think, “well, maybe I’m just missing some fault here,” but I don’t think that’s it. I think we’re seeing the birth of one of the better comic writers we’ve seen in some time, and we expect him to drop some balls, and he just won’t. Enthusiasm and talent will get you very far indeed. I could try to question it, but for now, I’m going to enjoy it, and make sure others know as well.
When Scalped is gone soon, American Vampire will be carrying the torch for Vertigo comics as far as I’m concerned, until the next great series comes along. I imagine that a lot of people who read Snyder’s new series for DC will be introduced to his work for the first time. In that case, I say, go get this book. I can’t offer a higher recommendation. For five issues, Snyder and Murphy worked up a little bit of comic book heaven, in the form of undead Nazis, some explosions, and a hell of a lot of fun.
There’s a little Han Solo in Cash McCogan, or am I just putting it there?