FVZA: Federal Vampire And Zombie Agency #1


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FVZA: Federal Vampire And Zombie Agency #1


  • Words: David Hine
  • Art: Roy Allen Martinez
  • Colors: Kinsun Loh & Jerry Choo
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Oct 28, 2009

It’s official, vampires and zombies have hit their acme of popularity. Walking Dead is optioned as a television show for American Movie Classics and Twilight has topped the charts while dragging other vampire series into the bestsellers list. As Radical enters the fray, is it crass exploitation or is this the end all of zombie and vampire comics?

God bless David Hine. With Strange Embrace, he brought comics one of the most original and creepy horror stories ever. He took Spawn and made it an interesting property for the first time since, well, since Alan Moore wrote it. Now he takes the two pop icons of the horror world and merges them in FVZA.

This issue sets up an alternate history where vampirism came to America with the first settlers. The wild west wasn’t wild in this timeline because of natives. No, in this version of Earth, the calvary fought vampires. Then another virus came along, zombieism. After the Civil War, Grant upgrades the Vampire National Guard into the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency. Their mission - to protect the world from the two most vicious diseases mankind would ever face.

Initially, the agency is quite effective. In 1911, a zombie vaccine is created and the disease is pretty much obliterated by the second World War. Unfortunately, the Nazis had other plans. The experiments of the Holocaust were actually turning the Jewish people into zombies and vampires. Biological warfare of a whole other type. Winning the war stopped this evil plan and the western world got back to eradicating these plagues from history.

By 1950 a vampire vaccine is developed and President Kennedy declares the Vampire Wars over. By the Seventies, both diseases are gone from the face of the earth. Hugo Pecos is one of the last active members of the FVZA, but he remains vigilant, training his two grandchildren in the techniques that have kept him alive since he cleared out the concentration camps in the war. Is it the actions of a mad man, or is he right to fear their return?

Hine knocks this one straight out of the park. In fact, he easily snags the title of reigning master of horror in comics. This is a well thought out book with a substantial back story that is engrossing from the word go. He lays out all of the set up and never flinches at the gore necessary to tell the story. Horror fans have a new must read on their platter.

He has populated this story with Vamps, a cult that tries to live the life of the vampires, and bio-terrorists who would use the zombie virus as an effective weapon. The terror of the gruesome illnesses and the violence of the infected is made more palatable by playing on the terror that Americans have been introduced to since September 11, 2001. Hine stirs these together to create a world that is more terrifying than any before it. Only the Alien movies offer a more foreboding future for humanity.

Even more stunning than the character and world building of this giant comic is the stunning artwork. Martinez provides the photorealistic lines that allow Loh and Choo to create a rich tapestry. This book is gorgeous. The muted chromatics of the slide show during Dr. Pecos' little history lesson is only matched by the vivid colors of Mandrake, a renegade vampire who takes his infection to the streets, as he starts his own society.

Zombies burst from the panels. Flames heat the readers face. Gunshots are heard as they rip flesh. This is as visceral as comic art gets and it is stunning. It never quite steps into splatter punk gore, but there are scenes that are not for the faint of heart. These vampires are not the kind that inhabit Meyer’s work and unlike Kirkman’s zombies, these reanimated dead get in the reader’s face.

An adrenaline filled and inventive take on two of horror’s more enduring genres, FVZA #1 is a stunning debut. With writing and art this strong, this may be Radical’s entry to the big boy dance.

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