The Speedster Who Can't Catch a Break

Article by, Mariah Senecal


Writer: Joe Casey/Ron Marz
Artist: Kevin Maguire/Kenneth Rocafort
Color: Blond/Sunny Gho
Publisher: Top Cow

Carin Taylor, aka “Velocity,” is a character from the comic series Cyberforce created in the early 90s by Marc Silvestri. Her character, after falling off the map for many years, was revived in 2007 when Pilot Season, an annual comic book initiative started by Top Cow Productions, began. Velocity was one of two winners in the 2007 season and despite having won publication, it was canceled due to creative differences. The series was then picked up by a new creative team in 2010. Joe Casey (Uncanny X-Men, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) and Kevin Maguire (Justice League, Superman/Batman) teamed up for the Pilot issue, and later passed the torch to Ron Marz (Silver Surfer, Green Lantern) and Kenneth Rocafort (Superman, Madame Mirage, Red Hood and the Outlaws).

As origin stories go Velocity has a pretty lengthy one, but she is a character deserving of this level of depth. The plot varies between the pilot issue and issue #1, but they stick to the same backstory. Carin Taylor was cybernetically enhanced as a child by Cyberdata, which resulted in her super speed and rapid healing. Throughout issue #1 she mentions her past and how it has shaped her life. She was always destined to become a superhero, and she exhibits internal strength and wit that I find admirable. In the pilot issue we are introduced to a woman who runs across the country to deliver a live organ to a trauma unit. Taylor is driven, funny and a genuinely good person. It is interesting to watch as she struggles to lead a somewhat normal life in addition to being a superhero. All heroes have villainous counterparts, and it seems like Velocity, despite her speed, can never catch a break.

Although the two series were written by different people, Velocity’s sharp tongue remains the same. Joe Casey, the Pilot Season writer, perfectly portrays the woman we expect Velocity to be. She keeps us on our toes and chuckling with her internal dialogue, and it is very clear that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Casey sticks to the original origin story by tossing Cyberdata in as the go-to villain, but he doesn’t reveal much of Carin’s past in the Pilot issue, which is exactly what Ron Marz does in issue #1. What I like most about issue #1 is that the majority of the dialogue is internal, which makes a lot of sense considering Velocity is almost always running. She breaks the fourth wall through her internal dialogue, addressing us directly as readers by promising to explain her current situation. Her wit and sarcasm remain consistent between the two issues, and Marz perfectly writes the appropriately lengthy mad scientist monologue where his evil plot is revealed. Clearly both issues were well written because despite the shift in writers you can still hear Carin Taylor’s voice bursting from the pages. 

The art varies drastically between the Pilot issue and issue #1, and I’m not solely referring to Velocity’s costume change. Kevin Maguire was the artist during the Pilot Season and his style is definitely different from that of Kenneth Rocafort. There’s very little shading, lots of solid lines, and oodles of fantastic facial expressions. My favorite part about Maguire’s art is the fact that Velocity is not always attractive, which is nice because it makes her a more realistic character. Trust me, I am not attractive after running a mile, and Velocity certainly wasn’t attractive after running fast enough to create a global sonic boom. Rocafort’s rendition of Velocity is a striking one. She is beautiful, flirtatious, and expressive with her face and body. The art in this issue is quite a lot darker, which perfectly matches the tone of the story. I found that despite my qualms with her costume makeover, I much preferred Rocafort’s art. If you look (not even closely, just look!) at the differences between the pilot issue and the mini series you’ll notice that a lot of Velocity’s costume has gone missing, particularly near her chest. I feel that this is wildly unnecessary, but it doesn’t detract from the story or enjoyable action.

Personally, I preffered the series written by Ron Marz to the Pilot Season, which was initially shocking for me because of how strongly I felt about the costume differences. They’re both good, but I enjoyed the pacing of Marz’s writing and it leaves enough of a cliffhanger that you’ll really want to purchase the second issue. Both books and both teams produced some strong stories involving a very likable character. The real beauty of writing about older comics is that they’re almost always available somewhere online! If you’re interested in this comic you can read the first issue for free right here! If you prefer your comics to be physical, than you're in luck! The trade collecting the pilot season and mini series comes out this April.

No comments:

Post a Comment