Things go from bad to worse for Pearl and Henry in this issue, as the penultimate chapter of Black List delivers the return of a ferocious old enemy and a boatload of double-crosses. I can’t say that I’m necessarily surprised at the betrayals in this issue, but the scope of the plan that’s unknowingly been in motion since the beginning of the arc (and technically way before that) is beyond anything I really expected to play out. Knowing now that American Vampire will be heading on a year-long hiatus, it’s clear that this story’s final chapter is going to have some big changes in store for our cast.
Snyder and Albuquerque work in tandem to deliver an epic tale here, culminating in the entire VMS going under siege. Albuquerque swings for the fences in giant double-page spreads that really push the intensity and action in your face. The real beauty of this moment is in the pacing; Snyder uses most of the issue to methodically explain what Hattie’s been up to since we last saw her. It begins as somewhat of a necessary expository monologue, but slowly builds to a crescendo that lets Albuquerque really cut loose in a way that we haven’t seen since the madness of the Ghost War arc.