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  • Words: David Hine
  • Art: Roy Allan Martinez
  • Inks: Wayne Nichols
  • Colors: Kinun Loh & Jerry Choo
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Jan 6, 2010

After the terrorist attacks of last issue, the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency is working its way back to full operational status.  Dr. Pecos is on as an advisor and his grandchildren are leading the efforts to prepare the next generation of un/living dead fighters.

Meanwhile, we get some nifty revelations about zombies and learn more about the vampire underground.  Things are heating up to a frenzy packed finale in the next issue.

The first issue of this book was one of the most tightly plotted and action packed issues of 2009.  It was a revelation of a horror book.  Smart, creepy, and to a certain extent filled with a new angle on the two icons of horror that seemed to dominate the last decade.

This issue is not more of the same.  There is not the action punch here.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but to have the second issue be filled with solid character work building an emotional basis for some of the characters, while commendable, doesn’t make for a compelling follow up to the masterpiece that was the first issue.  It is like following up Die Hard with a nice piece about John McClane filing paperwork.  It is a nice thing to want to do, but is going to leave your original audience a little confused.

There is plenty of the rich world building here.  We see more of the allegory to the American experience since 2001.  There is the debate over ethical treatment of zombies, the fear of another attack, and other events that will recall the eight years that the United States experienced under George W. Bush.  It is still an interesting take on the two monsters, but it has lost a little of its shine.

What is really interesting here is a look into the vampire world and how it operates.  Revelations about their abilities and operations abound.  In many ways, the vamps seem to be better at organized crime/terror than the mafia could ever hope to be.

There are also some truly terrifying moments.  Hine is one of the foremost modern horror comics writers and he shows why as vampires hunt, rogues are handled, and maybe even more importantly there is some science thrown in with the vampire condition.  Reasons why the sun is bad for them. Explanations for why they have to be killed in a certain, almost ritualistic, manner.  Descriptions, vivid, even, of what it is like to be a vampire.  While it is certain that adrenaline junkies will complain about the issue, it is also just as crystal clear that Hine is plotting a tight and consistent book.  His rules are laid out plain and simple.

The art team is just as spectacular as they were in the debut issue.  This is a gorgeous book.  When a face is wrought in terror, it is visible in the eyes... it will haunt you.  When a fire happens, its warmth darn near jumps off the page at you.  There is less jumping out of the panel here, but the panel layouts are just as fresh feeling.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is still a fine book.  Issue two just doesn’t fill the reader with that “oh $%$#” moment every other page.  It is structured differently and is a bit of a slow burn.  What may seem somewhat pointless in the beginning builds to a frenzy and by the end of the book, you will be wanting that last issue as soon as possible.

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