Review by Gord Locke
Plot/Premise: (courtesy of FVZA wiki page) A U.S. agency , originally created in 1868 to deal with the infected victims of mutated rabies viruses that caused the mind to slip and make said victims hunger for human flesh and fluids; in effect, vampires and zombies. The agency was disbanded with the supposed eradication of the virus in the United States in 1975. However, many of the disbanded members await the time when they may return to the call of duty, due to the sudden popularity of vampires in the U.S., providing the perfect cover for changed people.
The graphic novel follows the path of the Pecos family , Hugo and his two adult grand childern and their connection to the FVZA. Hugo worked for the FVZA when he was younger then the VZ threat was thought to be under control so they shut down the FVZA. Decades later VZs were back and the government re-activated the FVZA with the help of the Pecos family. As the Pecos family train a new generation of FVZA agents and hunt down VZs they soon discover there’s something bigger and more sinister happening and they need to get to work….
If you are looking for a gripping , chilling , “realistic” zombie/vampire tale to fondle your brain then look no further. I was hooked and sinkered from the opening page , and it steadily reeled me in page by page.. ok no more fishing analogies.
Usually one shots don’t put much emphasis into adding depth to character building but I think the lead characters Hugos and Landra were intriguing in their own rights. Writer David Hines gives everybody purpose , every character you’ll come across serves a part in the story one way or another. Its very resourceful story telling.
The painters/colorists Kinsun Loh & Jerry Choo are the unsung heroes for this title. As good as Martinez’s pencil work is , it’s the lighting and mood that bring the panels to life with its dark spooky tones. The smudgy glare some of the people have could define a scene without any dialogue. There is a career in coloring books after all.
This is definitely more vampire story than zombies though zombies are in the landscape. This is not your modern pretty boy vampires taking off their shirts and fighting over vampire girls story. You can expect throw back vampires via Nosferatu style that bite for survival and kill for pleasure , a war of survival between humans , vampires and zombies , all book ended by the humanistic side.
Good News: Aside from everything previously mentioned , the book itself includes some real nice concept art and sketch work.
Bad News: Its a one shot graphic novel , meaning there’s no sequels or continuation though there’s definitely room for more. It was originally released as a 3 issue (48 pg each) mini series .. since it is a single shot GN , I felt it could’ve been a tad longer to add even more depth.
Verdict: I read this first in the summer then I revisited it again for this review and it made me its bitch again! Dig it or Ditch it? easily.. Dig it . Of its $15 cover , I rate it $12.5/$15. Its 168 pages total , 144 pages for the actual comic , 16 pages for bonus art , ..etc . For an indie company its decent value , better value than other publishers coughMarvelcough.