Comic Review: Veil HC
I find it funny that the cover they used for this collection is the same they used for issue five. It was that very image that made me crack open “Veil” without knowing a thing beyond its author. I know – starting with the last issue of a miniseries? But when I saw Rucka’s name my curiosity was piqued. Rucka is a writer I associate with realistic thrillers like “Whiteout”, “Queen & Country”, and “Stumptown” – now here’s a book with a demon girl on the cover staring back at me.
This collection opens with a naked women waking up in a subway station surrounded by rats. From this Terminator-esque introduction, our eponymous character is clothed by good samaritan Dante, who whisks her away from some lecherous thugs. The end of the first issue sets a pattern for the miniseries – a) men meet Veil b) men try to do bad things to Veil c) men die.
From the surface, “Veil” could look like another generic demon girl book, but Rucka uses this familiar cliche to present some interesting subtext. From the title (it wasn’t just picked because it sounds nice), some symbolism with chains, the lascivious men Veil encounters/disposes of, and Dante declaring himself a “white knight” in the finale, it’s hard not to notice Rucka working on another level. I will leave the final interpretations up to you, but in this era of Gamergate and the higher profile of women’s issues, “Veil” is a timely exploration of the demon girl trope.
Rucka isn’t alone in his efforts – Serbian-born artist Tony Fejzula’s unique style adds an otherwordly flavor to the tale. Handling art, covers, and co-coloring with Aljoša Tomić, Fejzula’s panels use varied angles and apply color in a way where images can look nearly line-less. From the drab cityscape to ruby red carnage, “Veil” is an interesting book to look at. Also, shout out to letterer Nate Piekos for the demonic bubbles used for incantations.
Rucka is known for his depictions of female characters. With “Veil”, he dresses an exploration of gender issues in horror garb that I’ve been ruminating on since I put it down. While I started with the last issue, I’m glad I went back to put it all together. It’s a bit of a slow burn but having the context for the final issue made for a satisfying pay off.
Review 6 (out of 7) – I was going to give this a 5 but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this book. Rucka and Fejzula’s dip into horror is worth the price, but the discussion it can generate are what make “Veil” special. You will want to read and re-read this one.