"Veil #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Toni Fejzula
2013, 28 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on March 5th, 2014
A young woman wakes up in an abandoned subway; naked, alone, and surrounded by rats. The first words she utters are, “It hurts,” before rambling into rhymes beginning with “rat.” After somehow busting through a locked gate, she makes her way to the street where she's met with one kind soul and a whole bunch of mean ones. This is how Greg Rucka's Veil starts. Aren't you just dying to find out what happens next?
I'm not spoiling the surprise, but suffice it to say the last few pages of this issue are shocking and unexpected. It colors everything that came before it in an entirely different light and presents the main character in a very different role. There are a few dead bodies, but it's been said that that's where all great mysteries start.
Veil, the aforementioned nude woman, seems like she's relearning everything around her when she first wakes up. She recognizes the rats and starts muttering words to herself. As she reaches the street, her vocabulary is growing, but not much past rhyming with words that she's hearing. She's completely innocent and definitely appears virginal. It's no wonder that the lecherous men nearby want to immediately take advantage of her.
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A lot of this has to do with how artist Toni Fejzula draws the girl. She's far from your typical female in today's comics. She's slender and small in appearance with deer-in-the-headlight eyes that make it seem as if she is barely there mentally. You immediately want to keep her from harm and when these men show up with evil thoughts in their minds, you genuinely worry for her safety. While she first shows up completely naked, she's never overtly sexualized. Fejzula also uses some creative shadows to hide her naughty bits, so the artwork is never tasteless.
Fejzula's overall style is top notch. It's no wonder that there are so many panels throughout the issue that are entirely devoid of dialogue. Rucka can rely on Fejzula to say so much with a single passing glance. You can use the cliché of “a picture's worth a thousand words” here, but you get a lot more than that. There's pure emotion in some of these panels that any speech bubbles or internal monologue boxes would have ruined. Plus, you go through such a wide variety of emotions with some of the characters. From the pure innocence of Veil to the avarice of the men on the street to the compassion of Dante (the one nice person that shows up to help the girl), the various colored Lantern Corps over in DC Comics would have a field day.
Veil is off to an excellent and intriguing start. Rucka knows how to write a great first issue (and several others that follow...the guy's a great writer), so it's no surprise that this is such a compelling read. The girl is shrouded in mystery and there are more questions than answers, but I'm excited to find out where she goes next and if the body toll gets any bigger as a result.