cover image American Vampire, Vol. 2

American Vampire, Vol. 2

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Mateus Santolouco. DC/Vertigo, $24.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3069-2

A bloody reinterpretation of American history animates this ultraviolent horror comic. The wide-open gambling and prostitution that accompany construction of Boulder Dam in 1936 are corrupting the town of Las Vegas, Nev.; feeding on human degradation%E2%80%94and blood%E2%80%94is a swarm of vampires, one of the many rival varieties that pass undetected in the transient population of the unsettled West. One local lawman who just wants to protect the innocent finds his comforting certainties stripped away as an outlaw vampire exults in pure wildness. Meanwhile, a female vampire tries to maintain a loving domestic relationship with her mortal husband when she's not ripping the heads off their enemies. Although Stephen King contributed to the early installments of this saga, Snyder now carries the action along with gusto. Albuquerque (in the first four chapters) and Santolouco (last two) deliver art that's appropriately raw and brutal. Exploring how dreams and temptations have shaped America, this series offers thoughtful content alongside the grotesque shape-shifting and spurting gore. (May)