If there's two genres of monsters that are worn out right now it's Vampires and Zombies. So perhaps a book dealing with both isn't the best of ideas. But that would be where you are wrong. FVZA or Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency is a refreshing story that adds its own twist to both genres but also tells a heartening story about the monsters and ghouls. In this world Vampires and Zombies are a known quantity. Their history spans as long as America's history. Imagine little boys and girls studying the "Vampire Epidemic" as a natural part of their US History. After World War II, the FVZA was created and effectively eliminated all of the Vampires and Zombies in the US. Since then one man has been planning for their return. Dr. Hugo Pecos has a long history with Vampires; during WWII he was part of a squad that had to eliminate a containment camp of Vampires that the Nazi had created. After that it became his life mission to destroy the vampire virus to prevent others from being infected. He is the sole legal guardian of his two grandchildren Landra and Vidal. He raises them in a secluded area of the dessert to ensure their safety against vamps and dead-heads. Their education consists of learning the entire history of both viruses (Vampire and Zombie) and how to combat them. Dr. Pecos trains them on hand to hand combat, martial arts, sword play and fire arms. Their childhood... is not normal. But he's raising them to be the best defense against Vampires should they return. America may have solved its vampire problem, but Europe sure hasn't. The vamps live a quite existence until a younger vampire flees to America to start a war. He begins by contaminating a small town's water supply with the Zombie virus. Suddenly Dr. Pecos doesn't seem as looney as the FVZA is re-established. As the FVZA prepares to deal with a possible new infection of Vampires and Zombies, the European Vamps are forced to deal with being exposed by the traitor. This is not a romantic interpretation of the vampire. The vamps are ugly and become less and less human the longer they're alive. Eternal youth is not one of their powers, nor is healing. Cut off their arm or bake them in the sun and the damage remains. It's a refreshing take on the vampire. David Hine (Spawn, Arkham Assylum) takes an interesting idea and adds so much depth to it. There really is a long and meaningful history to the story that's explained in chunks throughout the book. The addition of the history to the story makes for a back story that's relevant and enriches the experience. Hine has dozens of characters in the story and each of them plays an important part to the plot, but two of these characters always stand out: Landra and Dr. Pecos. The relationship he builds between them is so well crafted and heart felt that you can truly bond with them as characters. There are a lot of supporting characters, but it really needs to be said how great Hine's writing is, that he's able to work them into the story. Characters that seem to be only filler for the pages end up playing important roles down the line. It's impressive that these characters never detract from the story. The art team is phenomenal. There are two illustrators: Roy Allen Martinez and Wayne Nichols, and two painters: Kinsun Loh and Jerry Choo. The team works amazingly with each other. The painted art style gives a united feel to the entire book and is just wonderful to look at. Even though there are two illustrators their styles are very uniform making it nearly impossible to tell apart. It took a large team to make this book, but they did a great job of putting out a top tier product. Going into this I really didn't know what to expect and frankly, I'm like most people, tired of Vampires and Zombies. But this book surprised the hell out of me. I couldn't put it down and found myself thinking about it for days. The story is a complete experience with interesting characters to compliment a unique take on a tired genre. If you missed the single issues then definitely pick up the trade paperback. Story – 9.0 Plot – 9.0 Art – 8.5 Color – 9.5 Overall – 9.0 No glistening abs here that's for sure. Follow Dustin on Twitter and give a shout out in the comments.
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