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‘Veil:’ Advance Hardcover Review

What do you do when you give the demon you summoned the choice of free will? And, what does free will really mean? These are the questions that emerge from the first five chapters of the Dark Horse comic, Veil, written by Greg Rucka and with art by Toni Fejzula.

A beautiful, naked woman wakes up amidst rats in an abandoned subway stop. Confused and muttering seemingly nonsensical words, she wanders out into the street and is soon accosted by street thugs who would take advantage of her. She finds a savior in a young African-American man by the name of Dante who takes her under his wing and tries to help what he thinks is a mentally disturbed woman; however, through all her rambling, all that he can really understand is that her name is Veil. Unfortunately, his so-called friends decide to take matters into their own hands and quickly discover this woman is much more than what she appears. After Veil psychically forces them to kill each other, Dante realizes he’s in over his head and flees with her to avoid the police.

The hunt is on as the sorcerer who was paid to summon Veil, a succubus, double-crosses the consortium of powerful men who paid him to bring forth a demon to do their bidding. But, there is another player in town who wants control over the demon, as well – his name is Gabriel. Now, Dante must decide who he must save: Veil or himself.

Serbian artist Toni Fejzula, having contributed covers to Cthulhu, created the science-fiction album, Central Zéro, at Soleil Productions, and co-created the series, Nephilim, at Delcourt, does an outstanding job in bringing life to this dark and sordid world. The colors really set the tone and give it an otherworldly feel, though the story is set in an urban center. The nine-panel preview page before each chapter also gives us just enough hints (without any spoilers) to make us want to read more.

Oh, and did I say I really liked it. Well, I do.

Though the majority of the male characters falls under the category of what is sometimes referred to as “mustache-twirling villains,” the exceptions are Dante and Gabriel. They are both nuanced and flawed characters who you want to know more about, especially Gabriel. I look forward to seeing how they develop, and I hope they do not get killed off anytime soon.

I also find Mr. Rucka’s choice of having only one main female character until the very end of the fifth issue interesting. We only meet this new player for a few panels towards the end, so it’s too early to say what part she will play in the story; however, Veil’s whole world is surrounded by men in these first five issues. Usually, I would be critical of such a creative decision, but not this time. I suspect the reason there is only one central female character is that Veil is the embodiment of all women, and she represents their lack of free will and control over their own lives in our society. She is summoned by a man, paid for by men, saved by a man, but if she achieves free will, what will she do with it? That is a question yet to be answered.

This volume also contains a terrific sketchbook at the end with notes by Scott Allie.

Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Fanbase Press Contributor



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