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CVO: Covert Vampiric Operations: Artifact #2

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2003
By: Paul Brian McCoy



Writer: Jeff Mariotte
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez

Publisher: IDW

In part two of three, we find our vampiric heroes tracking down their lost Smith (a job description, not a name), although just a little behind schedule. Not to worry, our heroes have a zombie in tow, and in a very fresh twist on zombie usage, he consumes the corpse of the Smith and inherits his soul. So now he just has to get used to his new body and pass on his information.

This book is full of nice little ideas like this one, and although it’s more geared to action and adventure than to introspection and character development, we still get a little of that thrown into the mix just for good measure. Each member of the team gets a little more face time and we are finally starting to see what makes them tick. A couple of clichés here and there made me fear a stumble, but Mariotte handles them smoothly and they weren’t much of a distraction at all. One such moment is also used in this month’s Captain America where it sucks the shit out of a dead dog’s ass. Here, it’s done much better, with much more realistic results and pacing.

The art is consistent and keeps the action moving with innovative layouts and a very stylized approach to detail work. By this I mean that at times, the art slips into a fairly cartoonish, sketchy style, but instead of coming across as laziness or sloppiness, as it easily could, it plays as a stylistic choice. And as such it is a good one. More realistic art wouldn’t hurt the story, but Hernandez makes this story his own. When realism is demanded, it’s used, and quite effectively, I might add. Overall, the artwork is fresh and energetic, using nice linework to emphasize the fantastic elements while keeping it fairly grounded in real-world details like weaponry and bodily damage. Snazzy. That’s what it is.

This is a very interesting little world being explored in this title. I can’t wait for more.



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