"American Vampire" #30 is the usual greatness from Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque as the entire creative team continues to fire on all cylinders. For a third part of a six-issue arc, instinct would suggest an expected 20 pages that barely shift the needle, which is not the case. Snyder and Albuquerque deliver a great action set piece and cap the issue with a sequence that proves readers should have this issue in their hands.
Scott Snyder writes song lyrics for this issue. For a comic writer to pinch hit in order to specifically nail a character moment is a bold move. Snyder already wowed readers with his children's rhyme in "Batman" and now he's written a song. I expect a decent limerick by the end of the year. The main impetus of this issue is character work. Pearl is the center and around her revolves a cast of broken men. She should be their savior but how often does a vampire actually offer such solace? Pearl is just as cracked as those around her, if not more so, and this makes for some interesting developments.
The final sequence of this issue is incredibly engaging. It's drawn and written so well, you care more that it happened than the fact that you can see it coming. Emotion drips from these pages and while consequences will be bad, it's understandable why the characters don't care. Even on a scale including such powerful creatures, it is the same problems regular people face that can be the most effective. The final panel also might have Skinner Sweet looking directly at the reader -- if so, that makes the scene all the more heavy and moody.
Rafael Albuquerque is a master of any style for any scene. Whether it's guns, vampires tearing into other vampires or a fantastic character moment, Albuquerque's got it covered. It is astounding how well Albuquerque adapts to whatever the page needs. He is the exact caliber of artist that a long and illustrious creator-owned comic run should be built upon. There is quite possibly nothing he can't do artistically.
"American Vampire" #30 lures readers in with shoot-outs and claws tearing at flesh, then swerves to end on a very different note. The guns go away, the claws remain while the intent mildly changes, and suddenly it's a whole new game being played. There is a moment in this issue that's been building since #1, whether anyone inside or outside the comic truly knew it or not, executed in an incredibly evocative and fantastic manner. It's nice to see character come first and deliver in just as explosive a manner as the action.