In “Veil” #3 by Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula, a power struggle between Cormac and his would-be employers leads to a showdown, and Cormac sets a trap for Veil.
Fejzula opens “Veil” #3 with a wordless sequence of images that acts as a recap. Rucka trusts the reader to pick up story pieces from context and guesswork instead of using information-dumping mechanisms. The gradual pacing of “Veil” #3 follows the same speed of the previous two issues. At the midpoint of the miniseries, the plot still feels slight and shallow. The setting, on the other hand, feels like a character in its own right.
Power and its abuses are a clear theme, with magic being just another kind of power. Those who are good see Veil as a person; the bad guys only see her as a means. Given the pace, there isn’t sufficient room to develop these themes except as furniture in the room. Threatening men are just part of the hostile world that Veil finds herself in. She’s part femme fatale, part newborn child, part occult force. Fejzula emphasizes all these features in her huge, staring eyes, woman’s body and her eerie demeanor and affect.
Rucka is a strong writer usually, but the plotting and dialogue for “Veil” #3 aren’t particularly notable, although the action is smooth and easy to follow. Cormac and the corporate goons are two-dimensional villains, and although Dante got more characterization as a good guy, he doesn’t get any page time in “Veil” #3. Veil herself remains an enigma as a personality. The script is really a delivery mechanism or frame for Fejzula’s art, which is distinctive and gives “Veil” almost all of its tone and potency.
The choice of a gothic church as the point of convergence highlights Fejzula’s skills with interiors, and his color sense is excellent as well. Mid-issue, a silent sequence of Veil and some rats begins with a riotous violent swirl of purple and red, and concludes with calming patterns in blue rain puddles. It’s an emotional, wordless progression from fire to water, and it’s very effective in drawing the reader back into Veil’s point of view and re-immersing the reader’s mind into the story on a deeper level than the mechanics of who and where.
Fejzula’s artwork is full of textures and it’s simultaneously rich and ghostly. His images look like sculpture made of translucent wax in rock or gummi candy colors. He facets every surface with reflective edges, and the result is both jewel-like and sinister, especially in the effect on flesh, with hair and skin that look like rippled surface of water or light across old glass.
“Veil” #3 is worth picking up just for the visuals. Fejzula and Rucka create an atmosphere that feels exalted and debauched at the same time, the perfect combination for the witchcraft and greed that drive the action.