Vampire: The Masquerade #2 continues Tim Seeley and Devmalya Pramanik's comic based on the classic tabletop RPG. With a first issue that delivered a character-based horror story that would thrill both fans of the game and the uninitiated, the Hack/Slash writer now keeps that same energy going as the story continues.
Vampire: The Masquerade #2 introduces Prince Samantha ("not Princess," as lead character Cecily reminds Alejandra, the newly sired vampire that she has taken under her wing. The Prince's presentation at the front of an issue creates an intriguing metaphor based on a painting she has crafted, using tempera paint made from egg yolk. Liquid myrrh hides what would be a stench of rot, creating a shell of beauty on the outside as a sort of glamor for what the painting truly is made of: death. It's a brilliant touch that works in multiple ways, both alluding to a long and storied history for Prince Samantha while also giving this issue a brilliant metaphor by which to understand vampirism. The rot does permeate in this issue, As Alejandra (or Ali) is thrust into this society of high-class vampires on the brink of war while also dealing with the vicious hunger inside that takes her and Cecily on a Dexter-style hunt.
The bonus story by Tini Howard, Black Howard, and Nathan Gooden continues the intriguing side story of a group of vampires and a human companion. Still, the structure of the story, cutting back and forth through times, made it slightly difficult to follow. Addison Duke and AndWorld handle colors and letters on both stories, doing a terrific job on both the high society drama of the main story and the more ground-level action of the bonus. However, it would have been nice to have a caption or overlay text ending the first story. Since these are two entirely different stories, a one-page divide or even a "To be continued…" caption would have been a small, but useful, addition.
The struggles of these vampires are familiar ones to any horror fans. Still, they've been made to feel new with these well-wrought characters, Seeley's thoughtful approach, and Pramanik's artwork that makes Vampire: The Masquerade #2 feel alluringly edgy, like Vertigo at its most intriguing.