"American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares" #3 continues the summer tradition of adventures showcasing the Vassals of the Morning Star. In this series, set in the aftermath of World War II, Linden Hobbes and Felicia Book are on a quest to neutralize the king of all vampires with Felicia's son, Gus, in tow.
Although Scott Snyder doesn't give him even one line of dialog, Dracula exerts influence over his followers and others and proves to be one of the most fearsome villains ever created. As the original vampire -- or the Prime Carpathian as Hobbes prefers to refer to him -- Dracula has taken measures to ensure his continued existence. Snyder reveals some of those secrets in this issue, all while threading in bits of the literary history and mythological legend for one of humanity's original bogeymen.
Adding to the mystery, Dustin Nguyen's art is minimalistic, favoring economy and storytelling over detail and clutter. Additionally, Snyder gives Nguyen a couple metaphorical scenes to provide subtext to a tale layered in drama. What Nguyen does show of Dracula is shadowy and dark, leaving so much more to the readers' imaginations. Likewise, Dracula's followers cling to the edges of the scenes they appear in, but when the time comes to reveal themselves, Nguyen puts those revelations front and center, impossible to ignore and disgustingly bold.
In addition to an exciting story with interesting characters, Snyder and Nguyen also introduce "The Firsts." The characters comprising "The Firsts" have issues with Dracula, but they also have no love for the Vassals of the Morning Star, a combination that makes for a dynamic triangle of anxiety and potential trouble.
Last year, Snyder debuted "American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest," which expanded the reach of the Vassals and added diversity to the throngs of creatures going bump in the night. "Lord of Nightmares" adds even more depth and history to the Vassals of the Morning Star, revealing more hints of the true secrets behind the organization. The "American Vampire" franchise is a splendid example of growing a brand organically and the blossoming tradition of a summer Vassals miniseries is a wonderful example of how to nourish that growth while exploring new territory.