REVIEW: Velocity #1

Writer: Ron Marz
Penciler/Inker: Kenneth Rocafort
Colorist: Sunny Gho of IFS
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editors: Filip Sablik and Phil Smith
Book Design: Phil Smith
Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow

I won’t try and fool any of you and write this review without letting you know up front I am a huge fan of Cyberforce, especially Cyberforce characters written by Ron Marz.  Over the last few years, Ron Marz has breathed new life into these characters and has really gotten me excited about anything that they appear in and that he is writing.  So, a book about Velocity seems to be a no-brainer – I’m going to enjoy it.  Right?

I know a few of us have been wondering where this series has been considering Velocity won the very first Top Cow Pilot Season contest.  And while people can complain that it took “forever” to get here – get over it.  I think complaining about how long it took for something to get into your grubby little hands gets in the way of the fact you actually have it in your hands! Yeah, I got disappointed in not seeing this issue on the week’s shipping list for a little while, but I also know that the waiting just makes it all the better.

This issue introduces a new villain for Velocity and the rest of the Cyberforce team to face off against – someone from their Cyberdata days.  The character is all new from what I can tell, but it really doesn’t matter – he’s a creepy dude for sure.  There is a bit of a Cameron Hodge from the X-Tinction Agenda storyline, feel I get when looking at him, but given the history he gives to Velocity his current form makes a lot of sense.  I’ll take it as pure coincidence.  Like I said, this new villain (who doesn’t even give his name which is interesting) is a rather creepy guy and I love how it really does seem like he has the upper hand on Velocity, but there’s a twist I had even forgotten about that changes that.  Now, this is just the first issue, so I’m not spoiling anything – I hope I’m not.

As I said before, Ron Marz has a great understanding of Velocity and really makes her out to be a very hyper-active teenager.  Her dialogue in the opening sequence is really fun.  If I had to complain a bit it’s the jabs at DC’s Flash.  I will admit it’s funny to read, but I’m not entirely sure it was necessary.  Other than that small bit of dialogue I think the issue is a great read and really shows how much potential this miniseries has.

There’s little I can say about Kenneth Rocafort’s art that hasn’t been said before.  Rocafort’s style is incredibly expressive without being over rendered. I think what is such a great move is that the lack over rendering allows Sunny Gho to get into these pages and make them explode with some incredible coloring.  The art is just top notch – no doubt.

If you’re new to Velocity and to Cyberforce I really think this would be something that would be a great introduction for you.  I don’t know how much Cyberforce we’ll get in this miniseries, but it could easily serve as a chance for you to get to know them from Velocity’s perspective.  I would recommend picking up the Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer miniseries that recently concluded as this takes place afterwards and is by the same creative team. For all of you long time fans, like me, I think you’ll enjoy this issue as well.  I’m looking forward to what happens as this miniseries progresses.

Rating: 9 out of 10 (On Its Way to Greatness!)

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REVIEW: Batwoman Elegy Deluxe Hardcover

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: J.H. Williams, III
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: DC Comics
Batman Created by Bob Kane
Introduction by Rachel Maddow

Collects: Detective Comics #854-860

Ever since Batwoman’s first appearance in the pages of 52, I have looked at the character in two separate lights.  The first is in all of the hype and buzz of her first appearance and the fact nothing really had been done with the character and people were already praising her as the greatest new character that DC Comics had in years.  That version of Batwoman is the one I’d rather forget.  The second is the Batwoman that appeared in the pages of Detective Comics when she took the lead role in the series and became a serious contender for one of DC’s best characters in years.  The first was a publicity stunt in my opinion that really didn’t go anywhere.  It took Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams, III a few more years to bring Kate Kane to the forefront and make her more than hype – they made her real.

There is little that can be added to the large number of accolades this run on Detective Comics has been given since issue #854 hit the shelves.  I remember opening up that issue and just being blown away by Williams’s art and then reading Rucka’s words and realizing that this is where Batwoman would really make her mark on the industry.  Through an amazing array of words and images, readers were definitely experiencing a melding in comics that just doesn’t come around that often. And after reading these issues, you just can’t look at comics with the same eye as you did before.  I know I haven’t.

This collections starts off with a really interesting Introduction by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that surprised me in her interest in Greg Rucka’s writing and how she so easily ‘gets’ what Kate Kane is all about.  She is a strong, driven, brave, and honorable.  Maddow goes on to say how she will read anything Rucka writes – including his grocery list because you know it will be compelling. And you know it’s true.

The back of this deluxe edition is packed with artwork from the variant covers of Detective Comics #854, 858, 859, and 860. The bonus material has a lot of sketches from J.H. Williams, III that are just beautiful.  Those pages are then followed by a couple of pages from Greg Rucka’s script from Detective Comics #857 and 859 with the black and white art pages from Williams.

Overall, Batwoman: Elegy Deluxe Edition is an incredibly well put together collection that provides those readers that are curious about Batwoman and her origin and want to see if the hype is true.  The only regret that I have after reading this collection is that Greg Rucka will not be joining J.H. Williams, III with the upcoming Batwoman ongoing series because the two creators make an amazing team.