The Veil #1 from IDW Publishing hit stores this past week, and Major Spoilers’ own Marlowe Lewis took a peek inside.
A young woman, Chris Luna, who can see and speak with dead people, is working both as a private investigator and also as a part-time police liaison in New York City. Even though she is actively helping the recently deceased find out who murdered them and passing on this vital information to the proper authorities, thereby bringing the culprits to justice, she is both financially and spiritually unfulfilled with her life.
A letter from the local council regarding the sale of her dead auntâ€™s house brings her reluctantly back to the small Maine town, called Crooksville, where she was brought up and which is also the site of a tragic accident in which she was involved in, years earlier. This is the first time since that particular misfortune befell her that she has returned back home and with meeting up with people who remember her from the past in half familiar surroundings, she discovers that because of her talent, what was supposed to be a simple short business trip is turning into another hunt for justice.
The script by Spanish scribe El Torres is competently done. The situations are well set up and the sharp contrast of pace between city life and small town life is very well handled. This writer also has an ear for dialogue and his characters speak with an extremely natural voice. Even the required expositionary scenes are written with a light touch and donâ€™t feel forced at all.
The art by Gabriel Hernandez is wonderfully crisp. It appears to be pencil line drawings overlaid with water coloured paints. This gives a nicely rendered book and with this particular art style, I think the artist is trying to give a physical impression of the Veil in the comicâ€™s title. When you are reading a page itâ€™s almost as if there was some kind of fine mesh between your eye and the page, which definitely adds to the unearthly atmosphere of the book.
Anyone reasonably familiar with either Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalanâ€™s film â€˜The Sixth Senseâ€™ or any of the several Stephen King novels set in Maine will be on very familiar territory here but that isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing. Just because we are in the same neighbourhood doesnâ€™t mean that this tale is a simple copy or rehash of what other talented people have produced before. Veil is much more than that.
The lead character is well drawn both plot and pencil wise. She is an extremely believable young woman and her constant struggle to deal with her obviously unwanted talent makes for a very interesting read. First issues are always a compromise between story advancement, character development and having enough action to bring back the reader for the second issue. This creative team handle this difficult task with relative ease and I am already emotionally caught up in Lunaâ€™s internal and external conflicts.
Both New York and Crooksville look and feel different which is a trick some other artistic teams never seem to master. These guys never fall into the trap of portraying a generic comic architecture and I would not be surprised if Hernandez used some photo reference for the Maine buildings because they look extremely authentic.
The only clunky thing I found in the whole plot was where Chris was explaining where she got the money to pay her bills. Itâ€™s implied that the dead tell her that they are so grateful to her for solving their murder that they show her where they either kept their secret stash of cash or pass on details of their personal bank accounts, so that Ms Luna can help herself. However just a few pages before in the script its clearly stated that the dead do not think the same way as they had when they were alive. Their murder was so shocking to them that they are stuck in a causal loop, reliving the event over and over again and when itâ€™s solved they just disappear. So when exactly do they have time to chat about money matters? Perhaps this Bear Sterns financial model is why Chris is always broke.
Still this is a very minor hole in a wonderfully rich tapestry. This particular Veil is doing its job and just allowing us enough of a peek inside to keep us intrigued for what is to follow and I intend to carry on picking up this title.
As a complete aside I would just like to say that I really love the IDW policy of multiple covers. I know that some people think it harks back to the whole nineties speculator boom that our industry got mired in during the nineties but when you have the choice of wonderful Ashley Wood painting without any of the usual cover blurb on it for the same price as the regular book then whatâ€™s not to love.