ADVANCED REVIEW: Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit #1

Written by Rob Anderson
Art by Fernando Melek
Published by IDW Publishing
Release date: January 28, 2015

Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit is the first book in a new partnership between publisher IDW and Comics Experience to bring about a series of new and original creator-owned projects to market.

The book is set in an alternate timeline in which science has succeeded in creating “duo-spliced” hybrid creatures – new animal species with characteristics from two or more animals – and transformed many industries in the process. As a result of this new genetic arms race, Congress federalizes animal control into a new agency to combat the growing numbers of legal and illegal hybrid creatures which are now a part of everyday life. Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit follows one group of animal control specialists, as they attempt to bring order and survive in this brave new world.

ccsvu1sc1 At first glance, readers may think Creature Cops to be a humorous book, but it has one of the most original and well-crafted stories I have seen in comics as of late. Sure, there are plenty of funny moments throughout this first issue – a particular scene with animal control officers wrestling an alligator-snake hybrid comes to mind – but at its core, Creature Cops is a story about the human condition, and how we struggle to make it through everyday situations – even if those situations do involve genetically manipulated animals.

Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit reads very much like a police procedure which allows Anderson to bring about an interesting perspective to the subject matter. The creature cops are overworked and underpaid, and simply do what they need to to survive. They each have their own baggage they must carry around, particularly Kaminski, the veteran animal control officer, and Vasquez, his rookie partner. I was particularly impressed by the amount of development these two characters received in this issue, particularly with Kaminski whose past experiences on the force will obviously propel this story forward in future issues.

The art in this book is excellent with pencils provided by Fernando Melek. The creature designs are creative but not entirely foreign, while the people and places are realistic enough to ground the reader through some of the more outlandish moments. I can definitely appreciate an artist with such a wide range, and who can even make animals show emotion through action, posture, and facial features.

Overall, Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit #1 is a very enjoyable book with tons of story potential. The cast is interesting, the story is unique, and the creative team is right on point.

Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit #1 will be a three issue miniseries starting on January 28, 2015. You can pre-order it now with item code NOV140526.

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