FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency #1 (Radical Comics)
by David Hine & Roy Allan Martinez
This is another one of Radical’s big $4.99 US comics, and it does deliver a solid value (though it bills itself as offering 56 pages, there’s really 42 pages of story and art). Writer David Hine offers an interesting alternate history of the United States, exploring a world in which vampires and zombies exist (or at least existed), though the impact on culture isn’t really felt. Still, it’s an interesting script with some appropriate creepy moments. Still, this first issue is all about setting up the conflict between a newly revived government agency and the monsters that would threaten to overrun the country. The storytelling is solid, but I found I had to get over a bit of hurdle before I could really enjoy the story. The problem: the title. “Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency” sounds, well, silly and fun. Instead, the creators play the concept straight, and given the title, it’s just not what one expects. The historical fiction elements might make some readers uneasy, but they’re novel and make sense in the context of the world of FVZA.
The art is in keeping with Hine’s approach to the story rather than the lighter, oddball tone of the title, appropriately enough. Given the prominence of the monsters in the plot, there are a number of thoroughly gruesome and gory visuals. His realistic style certainly drives home the horror of the vampire and zombie concepts. He captures the gothic appeal of vampire characters with ease, but his zombies are far more interesting fro a visual standpoint. 7/10