Dating back to his run on Green Lantern during the mid-90s, I’ve been a fan of Ron Marz’s writing. I dug his work over at CrossGen, and I’ve enjoyed what he’s done shaping up the Top Cow Universe, most notably with Witchblade. Though I’m less familiar with Kenneth Rocafort’s catalog of work, what I’ve seen of his interiors show an artist on the verge of breaking out. All he needs is the right title. When both creators were announced as the creative team for the Velocity mini-series (Marz and Rocafort replaced Joe Casey and Kevin Maguire/Chris Cross) after it won Top Cow’s 2007 Pilot Season, I’ll admit it was the first time I was looking forward to reading a book about a Cyberforce character.
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Cover A – Kenneth Rocafort
Cover B – Chriscross
Full Color 32 pages $3.99 limited series
For as much flack as Top Cow takes for being a publisher more concerned with T & A than actual good storytelling, it’s clear after reading Velocity #1 (as well as any number of Witchblade comics since the Marz era began) that idea of thinking is extremely outdated. As the story opens, we’re introduced to Carin Taylor, aka Velocity. She’s confident, witty, and most obviously, fast. Velocity’s backstory isn’t terribly important this issue, but Marz gives you just enough of what you need to know in order to get a quick grasp of the character and the world she lives in. The first issue centers around a plot by a jealous scientist who used to work at the company that gave Carin her cybernetic implants, and his plan to destroy her and her Cyberforce teammates with a uniquely programmed virus. By the time Carin finds all of this out though, everyone has already been infected, and has merely an hour left to live, setting up the next three issues, which will all take place within that hour. Don’t worry though, Velocity’s fast. She can make it.
Part of the reason I enjoy Ron Marz’s writing so much is how clearly he’s able to convey attitude, emotion, and character without over-writing. Marz also doesn’t waste much time with senseless conversation, and without spelling everything out for the reader, allows the characters he’s writing to say what they need to say in the most direct way possible. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for both dialogue styles, but Marz is at his best when the story is quickly paced, and with a character with super-speed in the starring role, I don’t think pacing is going to be an issue. You really get a grasp on who Carin is in just a few pages, and though a good portion of her dialogue in this opening issue is internal, you never feel like the character is talking down to you trying to catch you up with what she’s been up to the last twenty years. As a reader unfamiliar with the character’s continuity, it’s always a treat when the writer is able to tell me everything I need to know without having to hit the internet for research.
The only work of Kenneth Rocafort’s I was even remotely familiar with were his interiors on Madame Mirage. The pencils on Velocity show how much more he’s refined his extremely unique style, and allow Rocafort to stretch his muscles on more than a few action sequences. Super-speed is always tricky in comics, and though Rocafort’s able to convey motion well, I’m still not certain any single artist has particularly nailed drawing a character running at speeds upwards of Mach 7. That said, the book looks beautiful. The way Rocafort’s able to keep a character whose suit leaves her chest exposed undersexualized (for the most part) is impressive. Instead of wanton and sexy, his Velocity comes off as flirty and cute, and he’s able to keep that look consistent throughout the book. Easily my favorite part of the book is the way the comic opens with Velocity running at the reader, and ends with her running away as the sixty-minute clock starts ticking. I absolutely love the way the pages are bookended, though I’m sure just as much of my kudos belong to Mr. Marz for the layout idea. Of course, since the book ends with her running away, we’re treated to a great ass shot, which is the only time the comic felt cheesecake-y at all. I’m not complaining. I’m simply making an observation.
I actually really enjoyed the Pilot Season issue of this book a few years ago, and I’m glad to see that Velocity is getting her own chance, even if it is just a mini-series. I look forward to seeing what Ron Marz and Kenneth Rocafort have in store for us over the course of the next few months, and have a feeling that the fun is only just beginning.