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Sunday, September 20, 2009

CVO (Covert Vampiric Operations) Rogue State. Jeff Mariotte (Writer), Antonio Vazquez(Art), Fran Gamboa (Colours), Tom B. Long (Letters). IDW. (2005)


A solid premise and a thoughtful plot are let down by a cramped conclusion. One of the US Government's secret services is C.V.O., Covert Vampiric Operations. They are being attacked and killed while in parallel there is a palace coup taking place in a South (Central?) American country of San Felipe. The two plots run in parallel as a trio of CVO agents refuse an order to turn themselves in a proceed to establish what is actually going on. The reveals are nicely done and the action is graphic and well choreographed. The conclusion is very cramped, it feels as though the series was brought to an abrupt halt ahead of what had originally been planned.

There are a great many good things about this book, the absolute best being the complete lack of a back story to CVO as an organisation or for the agents. They were made into vampires by CVO, the how and why is not explained. This gives a welcome forward momentum to the story, there is no looking back and the reader is forced to take the whole premise for granted. The vampire trio are interesting and varied, they each have a presence and individual personality, their interactions are excellent. The rest of the major parts are well done also, there has been care taken to step beyond cliche while not straying too far from stereotypes.

The art was a bit too dark for my taste, the colouring overwhelming the details, in particular in some of the action sequences. The figure work is strong and nicely suggestive, the facial expressions are expressive and forceful. All told, while it is not completely successful it is still well worth a read.

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