Written by Greg Rucka
Art by Toni Fejzula
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 2, 2014
Well that took an unexpected turn. In the second installment of Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula’s Veil, the world gets weirder and more complicated as we learn where Veil came from and how she got here. Who she is and why she is remain unknown; the answers are pretty much guaranteed to involve blood, rats and the supernatural.
Rucka continues to unpack the “mysterious girl” trope in a very unconventional way. Veil is a true blank slate. She’s learning her environment in a disorderly and uneven way, stimulus by stimulus and interaction by interaction. Her responses are unpredictable, like a small child’s; her responses to pain and confusion are practically infantile. Something hurts or doesn’t make sense, and she lashes out. Her defenses are purely instinctive. Logic and reason haven’t developed yet. She’s a new life in the body of a beautiful woman, introduced to a society that generally commoditizes and sexualizes female beauty. It’s interesting to see how Veil’s vulnerability always results in violence against others, as opposed to herself. She can’t help being what she is – beautiful, naked, blank – but attempts by males to take advantage of that always turn out badly for them. Whether or not there’s some instinctive intent to her responses remains to be seen.
Another odd detail of the narrative is that everyone seems helpless in Veil’s wake except for Dante, the representation of decent human beings everywhere. Maybe there’s something about his intentions towards Veil – his first impulse was to help her, or at least the first impulse he acted on – that shields him from whatever it is about her that makes dudes get rapey. Maybe it’s just coincidence that most of the dudes she’s met so far were already rapey. The world of Veil isn’t exactly overflowing with good guys. If they aren’t attempting sexual assault, they’re helping with demonic summonings. Cormac adds a new dimension of malevolence to the story in the form of a pursuer who isn’t afraid to melt a guy’s skin right off his body.
Fejzula’s art is bold and heavy, with almost a geometric quality to the shading, especially on the faces. It lends everything an otherworldly quality, which sets an appropriate tone for a story that mixes the supernatural with mystery thriller. The waffles look delicious, the rats look gross, and the corpses look creepy. The perspective on some of the facial close-ups is a little off-putting, which may well be intentional. The color choices are exceptionally strong, and drive much of the visual storytelling. There’s no doubt that this book looks unlike anything else.
It’s always interesting when a book’s second issue is so dramatically different from the first. In this case, Veil #2 is stronger than the debut. It delivers on the promise of the first issue and extends the environment to add more diverse plot elements. One question gets a partial answer, and of course ten new questions are left. Page for page, Veil is a compelling mystery and a satisfying read.
The Verdict: 8.0/10