Tag Archives: Ron Marz

Review: Velocity #4 — “Decoys” Conclusion

Well, it took a year, but Ron Marz and Kenneth Rocafort’s miniseries about Cyberforce’s speedster is complete. Was the final issue worth the wait?

Yes! The miniseries as a whole is a fun, super-speed adventure that’s surprisingly new-reader-friendly, and the conclusion delivers.

Velocity: What, you weren't expecting me?As it starts, this chapter seems to ignore the cliffhanger from the end of the previous issue (though it’s included in the recap), until you get to the second page and Velocity literally turns toward the reader and says, “What? You weren’t expecting me?” The conversational, almost playful tone of the series really takes over in this installment.

Kenneth Rocafort’s art is key to that tone. I’ve mentioned before that I really like the style and creativity, and this issue definitely wouldn’t have worked as well if Top Cow had decided to replace him in order to keep the book on a schedule. He does seem to have toned down the sexiness-for-the-sake-of-sexiness that tended to crop up in the earlier issues, to the point where I don’t think I would have been embarrassed to read this issue in public.

There’s a splash page in the middle that at first glance looks like it’s using one of the standard techniques to show super-speed in action, but in context, it means something else entirely. I won’t actually post it, though, since it’s a bit spoilery.

Rest assured, that seemingly impossible escape is explained (though not precisely in the way I predicted), and as the clock ticks down, Carin Taylor takes the fight back to the villain for a final, over-the-top spectacular confrontation with Dr. Paine. The twist reveal comes in about halfway through the issue, and not only plays fair with the audience (it’s all set up well ahead of time), but sets things up for an element in the final battle that takes “speedster vs. robots” to a new level.

The series ends with a nod to its beginning, and a reminder that while this might be a stand-alone miniseries, the lead character continues on as part of an ongoing universe.

A few thoughts that involve SPOILERS: Continue reading

Quick Review: Velocity #3 — “Decoys” Continued

One of the things I’ve liked about the Ron Marz/Kenneth Rocafort Velocity miniseries is the tone: despite dealing with serious issues like viruses, murder, and human experimentation, there’s a sense of playfulness to it all. This holds through issue #3, in which Velocity goes up against hordes of robots as she tries to rescue her deathly ill Cyberforce teammates in the minutes left before the techno-virus kills them.

While the first issue was mostly setup, and the second issue dealt with a lot of problem-solving, this one is basically two long battle sequences with the speedster battling robots first in the wilderness, then in the crowded streets of Venice. It finishes up with a particularly nasty cliffhanger for the final issue…but as a long-term comic book reader (and sci-fi watcher) I came up with several ways to resolve it in the first few minutes after I finished reading.

I’m developing mixed feelings about the art, though. On one hand, I love the style, the detail, the expressions, and the creative panel designs. The pages often have a fragmented look that makes the story feel more hurried. On the other, some panels are sexualized enough that they distract from the story. Yeah, it’s Top Cow…but sexiness should serve the story, not detract from it, right?

(On a side note, I found it interesting that the issue shipping this week should have a text feature called “5 Things You Never Knew About Velocity.”)

Overall, the book maintains the energy of the first two installments. If you’re out for super-speed action, this is the place to be.

Velocity #3
Written by Ron Marz
Art by Kenneth Rocafort
Velocity #1 (full issue)

Review: Velocity #1
Review: Velocity #2
Review: Velocity #4

A digital review copy was provided by the publisher.

Review: Velocity #2 — “Decoys” Part 2

Velocity #2 of 4
Written by Ron Marz
Art and cover by Kenneth Rocafort
5-page preview at CBR.

It’s been a while since the first issue of this miniseries, but the second issue jumps straight into the action as if no time had passed. The members of Cyberforce have all been infected with a virus that will kill them within an hour, and Velocity is the only one fast enough to save them. Of course, she’s been infected too — it’s only her super-speed metabolism keeping her conscious. The clock is ticking. Literally. Every page shows a countdown timer, starting at 58:07 and finishing at…well, why spoil the surprise?

Like the first issue, this continues to be extremely accessible. I’m a Top Cow neophyte, and had no problems following the book even as it twisted through other parts of the Top Cow universe. I was mildly confused when the Hunter/Killer organization showed up, but the heroine’s inner monologue covered the basics in a couple of short narration boxes a page or two later, and a text page in the back describes it in more detail.

Kenneth Rocafort’s art continues to be a major draw, both in the stylized art itself, and in the creative panel layouts. Two double-page splashes manage to show off completely different ways of showing super-speed. The first (shown below), features a staccato 4×4 grid across each page overlaid with a giant close-up of one moment in a fight. The other is a great example of the classic wide shot of a room with multiple images of a speedster doing different activities all across the panel.

Don’t miss an artistic in-joke: one scene takes place out in the deserts of the American Southwest. There’s a bird visible in the foreground: a roadrunner.


Continue reading

Review: Velocity #1 – “Decoys”

The first issue of Ron Marz and Kenneth Rocafort’s Velocity miniseries delivers an effective blend of action and exposition. Appropriately for a book about a speedster, it hits the ground running, and while the main conflict doesn’t really begin until the end of the issue, there’s plenty going on in the opening chapter.

The setup for “Decoys” is simple: A mad scientist infects Velocity and her teammates with a virus that will kill them within an hour, and she’s the only one who might be able to stop it.

Wait, Who?

A bit of background for those not familiar with Top Cow’s resident speedster: Carin Taylor is a member of Cyberforce, a team made up of former (unwilling) test subjects of Cyberdata. Cybernetic implants give her super-speed, and a layer of Kevlar under her skin gives her some degree of invulnerability.

The comic is actually quite new-reader friendly. You get a good sense of Velocity’s personality (snarky, tends to get ahead of herself), powers (runs fast, jumps fast, dismantles killer cyborgs fast…but vibrating through walls and into other dimensions is right out), and the basics of her origin. The villain’s motives are established clearly. There’s even a page in the back with short profiles of Velocity and her teammates.

Continue reading

Velocity Returns in May

Wally West isn’t the only red-headed speedster out there. Velocity, winner of Top Cow’s first Pilot Season, will finally be getting her own series this May.

Well, sort of.

Velocity has been a member of Cyberforce since it launched in the early 1990s, and has had two solo books: a 1995 miniseries by Kurt Busiek and Anthony Chun, and a one-shot in 2007 by Joe Casey and Kevin Maguire. The one-shot was part of Top Cow’s “Pilot Season” event: they released several “first issues” of potential series and asked fans to vote on which one should be picked up. Velocity won, and Top Cow went on to prepare a series. Joe Casey returned, and ChrisCross took over as artist.

That series never actually launched, though. Casey wrote three issues, ChrisCross drew one full issue and several covers, but the book was delayed several times and finally scrapped due to creative differences. With their newly found free time, Joe Casey and ChrisCross went over to DC and did Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance.


Top Cow has announced a new Velocity miniseries starting in May, written by Ron Marz and drawn by Kenneth Rocafort (who did variant covers for the unlaunched series).

Carin Taylor is the fastest woman in the world. At least, she’d better be if she wants to save her own life and the lives of her Cyberforce teammates. When a former Cyberdata scientist — and test subject — seeks revenge against the members of Cyberforce, only Velocity can save her friends before the clock literally runs out.

Ron Marz remarked to UGO:

I’ve been getting to use the supernatural side of the Top Cow Universe as my playground for a while now, so I jumped at the chance to write one of my favorites from the superhero/tech side.

In some ways it does fulfill the promise of Pilot Season, in terms of the character finally getting a book, but it’s an entirely new creative team. And it’s a four-issue limited series, not an ongoing. I guess after two and a half years Top Cow wanted to test the waters again. Kind of a shame, given how rare it is to find and ongoing speedster comic that’s not The Flash (or Sonic the Hedgehog), but it’s probably sensible not to rely too much on the buzz from 2007.