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Philadelphia Daily News Reviews FVZA #1

Great review of FVZA #1 from Jerome Maida of the Philadelphia Daily News.

“Radical’s most recent, successful attempt at providing readers with cutting-edge stories with gorgeous artwork – in this case by Roy Allan Martinez, who proves to be a revelation – breaks a multitude of conventions in a variety of ways.

First, FVZA is one of the titles in the company’s ‘Bigger Books! Bigger Value!’ campaign. That means readers are treated to a prestige-format, 64-page debut issue for only $4.99 – or only a dollar more than Marvel is charging for 22-page installments of their most popular titles.

Second, FVZA is not adapted from a film, novel or even a movie pitch as many comics are these days. Instead, it was inspired by a website (www.fvza.org) that claims to represent the authentic history of the vampire and the zombie through past centuries up until the present day.

The site is fronted by a man named Hugo Pecos who plays a key role in the comic – and not only gives a detailed “History and Science of the Undead” from medieval times to the present, but also in-depth essays on how to combat vampires, zombies and werewolves and a forum to enable the public to submit sightings of the undead from around the world.

What is fascinating about FVZA is that the history is detailed enough to provide fodder for countless stories, yet it also demands that the science of the undead has to remain consistent. As a result, FVZA breathes fresh life into a genre that has been beaten like a dead corpse by clichés and familiar elements. It dismisses most of the vampires and zombie myths that have been promoted through movies and novels. In the world of FVZA, the idea that a vampire casts no reflection is rejected as nonsense.

In fact, what writer David Hine has done is completely deromanticize the vampire genre by making those in his tale twisted, ugly and impotent – a sharp contrast to the sexy seducers they are usually portrayed as.

As for the zombies, Hine ratchets up the terror level by having these zombies retain some degree of awareness of their humanity. So instead of the usual mindless moans, these zombies use them to express despair and self-pity.

Of course, Hine has not made these creatures unrecognizable. There are familiar elements. Vampires are still creatures of the night who shun daylight. They still feed on blood and once bitten there is still no escape. People either bleed out and die or become transformed into the beings they fear most.

Hine powerfully conveys that what makes these familiar creatures so intriguing and horrifying at the same time is that vampires and zombies are neither alive nor dead. They aren’t really human, but they are more than just animals.

Through them, Hine explores what it is that makes all of us truly alive and what makes us truly human. The fact that in the world of FVZA anyone can be infected and no one can take his or her humanity for granted means that the characters place greater value on the things that define humanity – like love, loyalty and self-sacrifice…

…It should be one exciting, memorable ride for the next couple of issues as the FVZA seeks to end the threat of the undead once and for all.”

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