I started reading this last weekend, but since it contains 13 issues I split it up. The first five issues were the miniseries American Vampire: Lord of Vampires. It's an interesting use of the original Dracula legend (the "Lord" of the title). It also brings Agent Book back into the Vassals of the Morning Star, and shows Agent Hobbes going out in a blaze of glory. Dracula is taken out of action for the time being, but it's not a permanent solution, so I won't be surprised if he returns later. This mini continues the earlier Survival of the Fittest, illustrated by Sean Murphy. Dustin Nguyen's art here is very reminiscent of Murphy's. It looked so familiar that I had to double-check to see if Nguyen had been a guest artist earlier in the series.

Back in the main series "The Blacklist" story arc brings Pearl and Skinner Sweet back together in Hollywood, where their story began at the beginning of the series. The main story takes place in 1954 at the same time as Lord of Vampires: Agent Hobbes is absent due to business in Europe.

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The last arc before the series hiatus certainly ties together many threads, going all the way back to the beginning. There had to be a reason why Skinner became a VMS agent, and we find out what they've got on him (or in him, strictly speaking: it's a device they can activate remotely to kill him). So it's not surprising that he has been working on an escape plan. But the details are a surprise, not least because the Hollywood vampires turn out to be led by Pearl's old friend Hattie Hargrove. Their attack on VMS headquarters results in the death of Pearl's husband Henry, and Skinner's escape, free from the VMS control device. Pearl leaves town (and the VMS) to an uncertain future. I expect to see her again.

I expected the one-shot that concludes the collection to be an aftermath story. But instead "The Gray Trader" introduces a new undead menace, one who has evidently recently arrived from Europe. And he's a big problem, one of potentially catastrophic proportions. So I guess we know where the series is headed when it resumes.

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