The war on terror? To the operatives of an ultra-classified military organization, it’s an ongoing armed conflict with the undead and the demonic, a series of battles and exterminations that the American people can never know anything about. But all of that will change when their actions are publicized in the pages of SPOOKS, a four-issue comic-book miniseries coming from Devil’s Due Press.
Initially conceived by Ryan Schifrin, writer/director of ABOMINABLE, and HITMAN producer Daniel Alter as a big-budget big-screen extravaganza, the project, touted as “G.I. Joe vs. monsters,” got little attention from Hollywood. However, a meeting with famed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore led to the novelist and his son Geno reworking the material, which in turn provided the basis for the comic script by Schifrin and Larry Hama, who not only penned Marvel’s G.I. JOE title for years but also developed much of that property’s mythology.
“The Department of Supernatural Defense, a.k.a. SPOOKS, is a fairly big organization made up of several divisions,” Schifrin explains to Fango. “Zach Ramirez, an Iraq war vet, is a member of Alpha Team. Felicia [a forensics expert with magical abilities and adopted daughter of the commanding officer] is on Bravo Team. Omega Team is a division of elite bad-asses who are sent in to eradicate nests of creatures with extreme prejudice. So, while not nearly as big as the Army or Marines, SPOOKS does have a fair amount of personnel to deal with whatever threat arises.”
To do that, “our heroes use modified versions of existing state-of-the-art technology,” Schifrin continues. “Against werewolves, their bullets are silver-jacketed depleted uranium. Against vampires, they use high-velocity discarding-sabot anti-tank rounds that have an ashwood stake core-penetrator instead of depleted uranium, and garlic-filled crosses cut into the noses. They also have holy-water grenades and, for protection against vampire bites, specially designed body armor with telescoping neck gorgets. Whether it’s Apache helicopters or Stryker armored vehicles, everything has been specially rigged to deal with specific supernatural threats. We try to keep the military side of things grounded in reality; you won't see invisible helicopters or anything like that.”
The Department has engaged in many successful skirmishes over the years, but now, they’re facing a threat that could overwhelm them. A witch named Patience Van Anders is forming an alliance of darkness, Schifrin says, “to wrest control of the planet from humanity. The monster races have been hunted by humanity since the dawn of time, are tired of hiding in the shadows and are more than happy to join the witch's crusade.” Already commanding phalanxes of werewolves, Patience further teams up with Vlad Tepes for his hordes of bloodsuckers. “However, Vlad secretly plans to betray the witch and seize power for himself and the vampires as soon as the war is over and the humans have been defeated.
“The action takes place on both small and large scales,” Schifrin notes. “The first time we meet Zach, he’s battling a werewolf through a mall in Georgetown. We have a high-speed chase where a gang of zombie bikers pursues a Humvee of SPOOKS agents through a graveyard. And the end takes place in DC, an all-out battle between armies of vampires, werewolves, the undead, etc., and not only SPOOKS but the National Guard as well.”
The battle lines have been drawn (by artists Adam Archer and Jonny Rench, and covers by Archer and Greg Staples, with the latter’s work pictured above). The enemy will be engaged this February.