© Scott Snyder & Stephen King.

The second issue of the new Vertigo vampire series gave me a different impression than the first, as far as the writing goes. In issue 1 I was most impressed with Stephen King’s section, here I liked Scott Snyder’s better. Snyder is focusing on the young would-be starlet and flapper Pearl in 1925, now dealing with the reality of her own death and reawakening as a vampire. Skinner Sweet, the vampire cowboy, shows up to explain a few things to her in his own sarcastic way, filling in us readers at the same time. I particularly liked Skinner’s list of how he and Pearl are different from the old world vampires, and the way he gives Pearl a chance at revenge.

King’s section follows Skinner Sweet’s story in the 1880s, as told by a man who was there and wrote Skinner’s story up as a “dime novel.” It’s full of over-the-top melodrama, and spoiled for me a bit by King’s reliance on a catch-phrase for Skinner that I didn’t find scary or effective.

The art by Rafael Albuquerque on both sections continues to be an impressive mix of cartoony and realistic, showing a great deal of style and confidence in every line. It reminds me a bit of Jack Davis in his early work for EC Comics, with some Joe Kubert and perhaps Guy Davis in the mix. Rafael helps keep the two storylines separate by using different rendering techniques on each: traditional inking on the Pearl section, gray wash tones on the Skinner section.

Thus far we’re still getting the setup, I’ll be interested to see where this goes next. Recommended.

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