"American Vampire" #33 enables the growing legend created by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque to say "goodbye" to readers in an action-packed, emotional penultimate issue. Yes, there is still one issue left before this title enters a hiatus, but this issue checks in with all the critical characters and provides some surprisingly tender moments for Vertigo's best horror comic book.
All the characters central to the legend are given at least a moment or a few panels more to shine: Skinner, Pearl, Hattie, Henry, Cal. They're all here, energized by Scott Snyder's script and running through the continuing plot of the Vassals of the Morning Star trying to take down the coven of American vampires. The conflict reaches back to roots of the relationships of these characters in the very first issue of this series, illuminating the earliest threads of Snyder's larger tale which bears significant fruit here. Snyder has made these characters familiar and the end of "American Vampire" #33 is certain to evoke emotion in longtime readers.
It's only fitting, therefore, that Snyder is accompanied in this issue by "American Vampire" co-creator Rafael Albuquerque. The artist unlocks the visceral nature of the vampires in the conflict in this issue, making them all feral fangs and claws powered by demonic savagery. Albuquerque doesn't spend too much time on the backgrounds and incidentals of this issue, choosing instead to focus on the battles and its participants. Joining the artist in lockstep is colorist Dave McCaig. Peppered with oranges and yellows, McCaig's colors are not as bright as I've become accustomed to seeing from him. The muted colors trending in hues not unlike falling leaves, the art fits this story about change and perseverance. Quite simply, the duo combines and produces some great art.
This chapter is ending, which enhances the feeling that this is simply the conclusion of the first movie. Now all we have to do is wait for the next. At least we can re-read and re-re-read the books. Snyder and Albuquerque have supplied us with a lot of great stories and "American Vampire" #33 can certainly take a place among the best of the best. Where Pearl Jones goes from here remains to be seen, but like Calvin Poole, I'll be waiting for that goodbye call.