Ten years after the outbreak of Moss, humanity is pushed to the fringes in a struggle to stay a step ahead of a virulent pathogen that’s only lethal to humans. There is no cure for Moss, the only thing that can be done to stop the spread of the disease is to remove the infected limb. This is the world of John J. Vendor and he makes his living selling body parts back to the living.

Vendor, published by Viper Comics, is the first project from Keven Abrams and Adam Moore’s Fairtrade Films company. The company’s name gives away their professional background in the movie and television industries but both have backgrounds in scriptwriting and editing, both of which are vital skills for the “direction” of a graphic novel. Couple their professional writing and business experience with Nicc Balce’s art (more on him later) and you’ve got the potential for great comic.

Vendor himself is a very interesting character. He walks around with a box full of body parts wearing a trench coat that’s missing one sleeve. This arm he leaves bare in case he needs to cut it off and replace it with one more suited to his needs. He runs his business under the guise of a dating service and he also has a sort of death-sense which allows him to find the dying and buy their limbs from them. It’s a handy gift for someone who deals in both life and death.

Things are going fine for Vendor in the ten years since Moss infected the earth. He’s made a comfortable living for himself free from the worries of his past. All that changes when he’s called on to meet a rich client. His wife and child have been infected and he’s desperate for replacement limbs for his family. Normally Vendor would walk away from rich snobs like this but apparently this woman has the cure for Moss. To make matters worse someone has put a price on his head and they’ll stop at nothing to have Vendor killed.

The story is very compelling and grounded with a good dose of reality. From the first panel to the last you’re wanting to flip the page to find out what happens next. By the time you get to the last chapter you think you know what’s going on but they twist the plot up at the end. You think you know why things are happening but you really have no clue.

My biggest complaint was that the story ended just when it was picking up some steam. Just when you finally have an inkling of what’s going on and why, the story is over.

Nicc Balce’s art is also well done. His colors are vibrant yet he still makes masterful use of shadow and silhouette to evoke emotion and set a compelling scene. Considering his substantial background in commercial illustration (he’s worked with XBOX Nation and EGM) it’s no surprise that his characters are fully realized and cleanly drawn down to their last details.

Things get interesting when Vendor and a Moss spewing terrorist start getting creative with their limb replacements. Lions legs, elephant trunks for arms, wings, nothing’s off limits when you’ve perfected limb reattachment technology. It also gives Balce the chance to illustrate some very out of the ordinary fight scenes. I particularly enjoyed the bear claw versus the snake arms.

There’s no word yet on if there will be a sequel but I’d put money on the fact that there will be one eventually. There are too many loose ends at the end of this for it to be over when there’s no more pages. Hopefully the low price point ($11.95 MSRP) and high caliber of the story and art will get people into it and we’ll see a volume two before too long.