Infestation has overtaken several of the universes of IDW's
licensed comics properties. From Star Trek to Ghostbusters, from G.I.
Joe to Transformers... Zombies have caused a big uproar and with the
help of the CVO (Covert Vampiric Operations) these worlds have put
up a good fight.
The CVO 100 PAGE SPECTACULAR presents four tales to give readers a
better understanding of these agents and their organization. As far
as content goes it's pretty hefty and, if you'll pardon the pun, a
lot to sink your teeth into. However, two of these stories are parts
of a bigger whole and the quality varies accordingly.
In the first feature, a reprint of the original CVO one-shot from
2003, we meet the main stars: Cross, Bools and Britt. What we learn
about them in the next several pages pretty much sums them up for
the rest of the book. We do get a nice back-story for Britt, which
borrows a little from La Femme Nikita, and Cross has a
similar treatment but with an added level of severity. Bools never
really progresses beyond raging and impulsive.
It starts off very promising with Britt doing a bit of undercover
work that I thought was the best part of the story. Unfortunately,
things quickly spiral downward with a plot twist that triggers a
shift that totally lost me. The bodyguard that comes along halfway
through the tale also brings more elements to the world they live in
that I felt should have been established earlier. Everything seems
to just go along haphazardly from there and it feels like the writer
was trying to find a way to reach an ending. With that said, I have
to say the fight was pretty spectacular, but the whole thing seemed
to come from leftfield.
In the next part of the book we have a reprint of AFRICAN BLOOD #2.
This was one of the two stories that were parts of a previous
mini-series. It gives the impression that it would be good to read
on its own up until the cliffhanger ending. The events happening
here were pretty interesting, with the team being confronted by a
stronger African variety of vampire. However, there was one key
component that made it a chore to read. The lettering constantly
threw me out of the story with the wrong word often being emphasized
in dialogue. Several times I had to re-read a line because it didn't
sound right the first run through. I knew what the characters meant
to say, but it just didn't read right.
Later we are treated to ROGUE STATE #5, the other reprint from a
multi-part story. This time it's the concluding chapter where we see
the agents dealing with a supernatural foe thatís taken control of
the President and branded the group as outlaws.
Inserted between these two was "Kiss of the Vamp". Surprisingly,
with no dialogue to speak off and only six pages long, I felt it was
the best piece of the book. I may never know who the main woman was
in this story, but it was exciting to see and it had a nice finish.
I think that perhaps, like the Aeon Flux cartoon, Alex Garner's CVO
tales are better in smaller doses that have a single purpose that
wrap up before it lingers too long.
The art by everyone involved was really good; even if some of the
characters didn't maintain their appearance bewtween stories (Britt
in particular). Suleco Studios did an outstanding job inking AFRICAN
BLOOD and ROGUE STATE and made the comic really jump off the pages.
But again, the highlight was Garner's art on "Kiss of the Vamp".
The CVO group has potential but for various reasons I just couldn't
get into it with this selection. The short piece by Garner was quite
enjoyable but the rest of the book seemed to get bogged down with
stories that were either incomplete or had no direction. I don't
think that this would be the best introduction to new readers as it
was intended to be. Perhaps it would have been better if it was a
regular sized comic with several small tales highlighting each
character instead. As it is not much is revealed of the cast and
anyone reading for the first time would come away feeling
disoriented, if anything.