REVIEW: ‘American Vampire 1976,’ Issue #7

Reading Time: 3 minutes

American Vampire 1976 #7

American Vampire 1976 #7 “Family Trees” is an interlude story that highlights a collection of three stand-alone stories. American Vampire is published by DC Comics Black Label written by Scott Snyder, “Trunk” art and colors by Francesco Francavilla, “Root” art and colors by Tula Lotay, “Limb” art by Ricardo López Ortiz, colors by Dave McCaig. Letters for the entire issue by Steve Wands.

“Root” tells a story of President Washington at his home in Mount Vernon in 1799 being visited by a ghost from his past. The spectre comes with a message, which is simply don’t take the meeting you’ve got scheduled. Both the art and colors are handled by Lotay, and oh my goodness gracious this is some stunning work to behold. 

The visuals truly foster a haunting look that pairs so bloody well with the dialogue. I got literal shivers during sections of this story. The decision to give the blurred colors agency to over power the detail of the drawing itself. The classic tale of letting your mind take the image to much darker places of interpretation.

Snyder’s pacing of the story is deliberately slow, but the dramatic effect that it results in makes this first story a clear favorite. I will honestly never look at trees in the dark the same way.

“Trunk” follows the meeting of Pearl, and Jim as they meet up with the new bookkeeper in New York in 1973 as they attempt to learn something about the new species of Vampires. Again, the art and colors were handled by just one artist, but this time the creative is Francavilla. The artwork was really enjoyable, most notably with the layout of New York from the bird’s eye perspective looking down atop the skyscrapers. Additionally the final image of this story is fantastic, but overall I think the images were a little underwhelming.

I think part of the dismay here lies with the story, and while I get this plot is being used to underpin a prior plot, it just doesn’t quite have the emotional impact to really feel important. Which leads to the panel sequencing falling a little flat, and just as it gets done the story is over.

“Limb” lets us look in on the characters of Travis and Gus as they take the time to press pause, and have a little fun during the holidays. Ortiz has a very particular artistic style, and wow does he have it down to a t. The visuals are layered with detail, and what hits home here for the style is how Ortiz seems to fully engage himself in the story itself so that the art fully embodies the story. Limb highlights another good marriage where the dialogue and the imagery pair well together. 

Sadly, while this was fun, it only served to become a sub-plot without really delivering anything noteworthy, but it absolutely had the platform to do something. I wanted to see more here, it’s just over because it really gets the chance to start.

Wands lettered the entire issue, and his onomatopoeia designs were engaging, and eye catching. Wands especially delivers with his speech design during the “Root” storyline when the phantom comes to visit Washington. The way the tail of the bubble floated through as the speech took the form of the spectre was a brilliant touch.

Overall, I think “Root” really outshone the other stories, and while “Trunk” left a little to be desired, I was left wanting more with “Limb”. There was absolutely something here though to be explored. Perhaps each of the stories would have been better suited to an individual tie-in one shot, but jammed together in one issue felt a little forced and did a disservice to what could have been offered. I’ll say this though, I’d recommend this on the “Root” story alone, Lotay brought a canon to a knife fight.

American Vampire 1976 #7 is available in comic stores now.

American Vampire 1976 #7
3.5

TL;DR

Overall, I think “Root” really outshone the other stories, and while “Trunk” left a little to be desired, I was left wanting more with “Limb”. There was absolutely something here though to be explored. Perhaps each of the stories would have been better suited to an individual tie-in one shot, but jammed together in one issue felt a little forced and did a disservice to what could have been offered. I’ll say this though, I’d recommend this on the “Root” story alone, Lotay brought a canon to a knife fight.