Review - FVZA #1

Today I come to you with a simple question. Are you interested in a comic that adds equal parts zombie and vampire to an alternate reality battle between them and humanity? Well if so read on for a review of a new book from Radical Comics called Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency or FVZA #1. Written by David Hine and illustrated by Roy Martinez, the story behind the agency occupies about half of this comic while the resurgence of - you guessed it - zombies and vampires in society takes up the rest. I love the storyline, the history of the agency and the steps taken to eradicate the zombie disease and vampire race are detailed in an alternate past that runs through various wars and locations (such as World War II) coming up to present times. Read on for an account of what goes on. As this is a fairly long book my standard play-by-play will be a little toned down in the interest of space and keeping you awake. We open our story with a woman named Landra leveling a pistol at her grandfather, telling him that she has no choice. She is simply following the things he has trained her to do. It is clear she has been training for some event under his tutelage, and we quickly move into a flashback of a much younger version of herself and her grandfather. We come to a house where her grandfather is reading Landra and her brother what is her favorite story, “Kiss Me Dead.” In it, a vampire is wooing a young woman, but she tells him that her parents will never let them be and their love is never meant to grow. The vampire figures, in what I must say is flawless logic, that killing the parents would solve things pretty nicely. Of course, it is just like a woman to allow something silly like her parents blood on the lips of her beloved to ruin a relationship. As Landra’s brother gets scared her grandfather explains that he wants them to be scared, because there ARE monsters in this world. All Landra wants to know is what the princess did to the vampire that killed her parents. She is an intense young lady. After this we are shown that Landra’s home schooling was a little different then her peers'. They studied Vampirism and Zombieism and its roots with the original settlers to the new world. Bounties were given for dead zombies, and original settlers knew how to defend themselves. Vampires were hunted down with almost as much enthusiasm. Contracting that disease is more difficult as most will die before turning. Amongst those hunting vampires a bite meant infection, and in the words of the comic “A bite meant infection, a bite meant you were put down, no exceptions…” As a side note, at this point I was completely convinced that FVZA was awesome, and I can’t wait for the next edition of this comic to come out. The storytelling almost seemed more in line with a fantasy / sci-fi novel then a comic book. Completely original and compelling writing are throughout, and the alternate past storyline works really well. After a series of tales regarding the history of the diseases Landra’s grandfather’s time in the army liberating concentration camps is revealed. The Nazis were infecting people with both diseases. The zombies were executed, and the vampires driven into the sun with fire. Both events were horrific and drove the man to join the FVZA. A vaccine was developed for vampirism by 1950 and by 1963 it appeared that the war against vampires was over. The agency was shut down by 1975, but Landra and her brother's training continued. In the final event with the family, it is never shown why her grandfather is being held at gunpoint. Landra fights off a man with fake vampire teeth hired by her grandfather to attack them, her brother leaves the house, and even Landra begins to think her grandfather might just be crazy. Of course…there really are monsters in this world. Next we cut to the city and a group of goth people pretending to be vampires. They meet a man on the street who gives them more then they bargain for and invites them to experience the real thing. Not realizing he is for real, they follow. Five friends quickly are reduced to two as three do not survive the infection. While the book is tasteful in its presentation of what transpired that night, it can be deduced there was quite a bit of debauchery. Simultaneously an outbreak is occurring of a very different disease also thought to be eradicated, zombieism. In Corben, Tennessee, it has gotten into the water supply. The flesh rots and blood runs from the orifices. A husband eats the family dog, a wife and kids leave to escape the madness only to crash the car as the disease takes hold. When a man in a truck stops to help well, he doesn't fare so well and ends up in pieces so that the zombie mother can feed her zombie children. Needless to say, the scene that police stumble onto with the family surrounding the body is disturbing at best. Of course Landra’s grandfather knows the story of why Corben has been quarantined is a cover, and soon the FVZA is reformed, with him as one of the primary consultants. Landra and Vidal, her brother, are told that the FVZA is reopening by their grandfather and agree to come and help. Vidal seems suspicious and still upset, telling their grandfather he finally got what he wanted. Next we see a robed figure in a wheelchair leaving the airport. This figure seems VERY interested by a little girl that has cut her knee and is bleeding. They make their way to a limo where a security officer questions them. As they drive away the security office seems curiously still facing the street. When we see the sword protruding from his jaw we know why. This figure makes their way to the lair of Mandrake, the vampire who abducted the goth people and turned two of them. We are left with a very upset looking elder vampire saying they are there to rip out his throat. Check out this one when it hits shelves in November. I’m sold.