Issue #31 of American Vampire continues to portray the soap opera that Pearl Jones’ life has become. Torn between the two men who have come to define both her human and vampire sides, she finds herself in difficult situations often choosing to go with her heart and make decisions on a whim. In the last issue, heartbroken over the possibility of losing Henry, she loses herself in a moment with Skinner and now faces the horrible task of admitting her mistake to Henry.
This issue begins with a sweet emotional trip through the past. With Henry finally awake, Pearl falls apart and admits her difficulty with the thought of losing him. She’s really struggling with the idea of not turning him, as it is clear, she will fall apart once Henry is dead. The photo sequence (which I loved) illustrated their relationship over the years. Narrating a story with every picture, it painted a sugary sweet, perfect relationship. Once the trip down memory lane is complete, Pearl feels the need to admit her mistake with Skinner while Henry was in a coma. Coincidentally, a nurse interrupts Pearl, who is told by Henry that they will discuss the issue later. Pearl leaves, meeting up with Skinner to discuss what happened between them and furthermore, which vampire is next on their hit list.
True to his lone ranger attitude, Skinner brushes off any emotional bond to Pearl. Pearl pleas with him to simply wait an hour so she can deal with unresolved issues with Henry. Angry, Skinner insists Pearl means nothing to him and leaves to assassinate the next vampire on the list.
Pearl wanders around the VMA, where a conversation with agents quickly leads her to believe the vampire coven they have been searching for is in the desert, where the prop graveyards are located. She follows this lead, which turns out to be correct. A great twist is thrown in at the end of this issue, as the leader the vampire coven who Pearl, Skinner and the VMS believed to be, is not right at all. The leader is someone very familiar from Pearl’s past who saved the coven and personally knows Pearl’s weaknesses.
Writer Scott Snyder continues to do an incredible job with the story progression of this series. He takes his time, fully divulging readers on the emotions and motives felt by each character. At the same time, he is able to develop the story at such a quick, yet fulfilling pace. Nothing feels rushed or thrown in. He truly is an incredible story teller.
The art displayed in this issue is alright. Although the action sequences and character work with the vampires are a marvel to view, the human character expressions felt relatively flat. There were shadows and pencil lines all over the page; often covering characters faces’ in intense, emotionally draining scenes. The art definitely had a rougher feel to it but I think the dialogue more than makes up for it. Simply reading the words of pain and agony between Pearl and Skinner and the scared tone Pearl takes on when she begins to tell Henry the truth rounded out the art displayed in this issue.
I really like the direction Snyder is taking with this series. He’s taken the vampire genre and turned it into a fantastic, emotional narrative. Pearl’s character is insanely well written and I can’t wait to see where Snyder takes her. I give this issue a 9/10.