Through a variety of stories, we've witnessed humanity struggle as zombie outbreaks spill across the Earth or vampires stalk fearful humans. Well, why not combine them and throw in some good old fashioned conspiracy, right? That's the basic concept behind Jonathan Maberry's latest comic series with IDW. The writer spends much of the premiere issue establishing this new world and who our protagonist is. Maberry sprinkles a bit of political banter here and there, but for the most part, this issue is all about going over the basics of how the new virus spread, how it has impacted the world, and where our hero stands on the subject (not to mention how it has impacted him on a personal level). One abrupt moment aside (which is apparently spoiled in the synopsis), a lot of this is going to feel familiar, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, either. You know once something big happens certain people can't be trusted and that's exactly what's delivered, but it leaves you at least wondering where this will go next. After all, this is only the first chapter, so it's more than likely many of the truly big twists are being saved for later on. That said, I am finding it difficult to establish an emotional connection with either side just yet.
Artist Alan Robinson and colorist Jay Fotos shine when the violence kicks in, and Maberry most certainly scripts more than a few moments for them to unleash. The series opens with a powerful page and, while it never leaves a mark quite like that again, it remains consistent and has more than a few opportunities to earn an extended gaze. The double-page spread of a battle is sure to keep your attention for at least a couple moments as your eyes soak in all of the vicious madness.
As stated above, a lot of the material here comes off as very familiar and, so far, not much has been done to really help it stand apart. Aside from what kicks off the next step, the developments are predictable instead of inspiring a gasp. On top of that, I found it tough to fully appreciate the situation because we're tossed right into it this crazy world. We're told of innocents dying, but aside from the opening scene, it's not really felt. Regarding the plot, I can't help but wonder why the guy didn't leak the info himself? I get he said he wants to lay low, but I imagine he could get that out there without putting himself out there, too. And, it's not a big complaint, but characters do appear a little stiff at times.
Personal gripe: there's a group of vampire called the bloods. Sure, the name makes sense, but I can't be the only one immediately thinking about the real life gang, right?
I'm digging the premise and the story's potential, but as of right now, there isn't a very strong hook with the developments. I'm sure many of you will see the big twist coming a mile away, and, seeing as a lot of this is build-up, it's tough to feel very invested just yet. It's by no means a bad issue, but it leave a very strong impression with its debut, either. Basically, I'm sticking around because of the concept and I do believe the dialogue is well-written and it's keeping a tight pace. The potential is definitely there, so now it's a matter of seeing what'll happen next. If the premise sounds interesting to you, you should give it a shot.