Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Read it: Locke and Key- Crown of Shadows, Supergod, FVZA

Locke and Key- Crown of Shadows:
Before I get to my comments, let me first say that if you haven't read the first two volumes of this excellent series, Welcome to Lovecraft and Head Games, you will have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on in Crown of Shadows.

With that being said, I recommend this first issue of the new arc just as wholeheartedly as I recommend the first two volumes. Joe Hill's writing is getting sharper as he begins to fully realize the world he's created and Gabriel Rodriguez's art is as solid as ever.

The two highlights for me were seeing the antagonist, Zach, made as vulnerable as everyone else and the awesome ghost fight that spans a fourth of the book's pages.

If you've read the earlier stories, you don't need me to tell you to grab this one ASAP. If you're new to this world of ghosts, keys and doors that lead to all reaches of the imagination, I suggest you find some trades and get caught up. It looks like this third trip to Key House is going to be every bit as good as the last two.

I'm not sure what to think of Supergod. The idea of the world's superpowers genetically creating their own "saviors" only to be destroyed by them is interesting and a lot of the text (the post-apocalyptic recordings of the seemingly all-knowing scientist Simon Reddin) gives us plenty to think about but, for me, Supergod doesn't work so well as a comic.

Garrie Gastonny's art is great and Warren Ellis' words are as engrossing as ever, but the lack of character and world are a hindrance here. The comic is one long lecture accompanied by pictures. While I appreciate having all those pretty images to look at, they feel sadly unneeded.

I'm interested to see where the story is going, but most readers will likely want to pass on this one.

FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency:
I can't say enough about Radical as a publisher. Not only have they delivered great books like Hotwire and Shrapnel, but they're doing it in a way no other publisher dares try--no ads, glossy print and loads of content. FVZA is the latest evolution of Radical's push to be one of the top publishers out there. The first of three issues costs $4.99, a dollar or two more than most books, but there's literally twice the amount of content.

But we're here to be entertained, amiright? What good is all that content if it's not engaging? While I'm more or less sick of the whole vampire craze, FVZA does a decent job of changing things up a bit, warranting at least a look. The bloodsuckers of this world are grotesque, violent and impotent. While some sexuality is shown in this first issue, the ending lets the reader know that will almost certainly be the last of it. These vampires aren't here to woo you or send shivers down your spine. They are here to, and I quote, "rip out your #$%^ing throat."

Zombies take a backseat this issue, but I expect to see more of the horribly hungry hordes in the coming issues. Issue one is, primarily, a history lesson. You learn, along with two of the main characters (slayers-in-training), that vampires and zombies have been around and known about for hundreds of years.

While they were thought to be extinct, both sets of baddies are back in action and the FVZA, originally started by President Grant, must be reestablished quickly if humankind is to stand a chance.

It's a meaty read for a fair price and the content is pretty entertaining. For those who prefer their nosferatu to come sans sparkles, FVZA might be just the thing for you.

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