INDEPENDENT COMIC-BOOKS

PILOT SEASON: VELOCITY #1

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How does a young heroine find love when she’s the target of an all-new batch of super-villains?! Pure pop superheroics unlike anything Top Cow fans have ever experienced!

Written by Joe Casey and drawn by Kevin Maguire, this one-shot comic was released as part of Top Cow’s 2007 annual Pilot Season event. That’s where a batch of single issues are released featuring different characters by different creative teams and whichever one sells the most gets launched as an ongoing or miniseries. I bought this on impulse last night while browsing Comixology. Velocity was created by Marc Silvestri in his book Cyberforce, which he created back when Image Comics first launch. The members were a group of mutants who had been kidnapped by a mysterious corporation called Cyberdata, which experimented on them and gave them cybernetic implants to improve their powers and also keep them under Cyberdata’s control, so they could be used as super-powered mercenaries. Eventually this group escaped and fought against Cyberdata. Velocity is a young girl named Carin who can run at super-speed. I regularly bought this book, and many other Image titles, back then. I also remember that there was a 3-issue solo Velocity miniseries written by Kurt Busiek back in the 90’s, although I no longer have those issues (which, sadly, aren’t available digitally) and don’t remember much about it. Nevertheless, I guess the nostalgia for the early Image days enticed me to try it.

The book opens with Velocity using her super-speed to race across the country and deliver a kidney to a hospital in L.A., where someone is awaiting an emergency transplant. She explains that this is what she’s been doing for awhile to earn a living, working as a courier while trying to put the superhero life behind her. While there she gets asked out on a date by one of the doctors or nurses (it’s never made clear what the man does at the hospital), which she accepts. They go out to dance at a nightclub and are having a somewhat good time. Meanwhile, we see that one of the nurses at the hospital was secretly working for a mad scientist, Professor Abel, who used to work for the military until he was fired for illegal experiments. The nurse brings him some info on Velocity (she has an X-ray done at the hospital to check on her sprained shoulder), which Prof. Abel uses to activate the dormant computer chip that Cyberdata placed in her skull. Reactivating this chip gives Prof. Abel the ability to control Velocity’s movements. But it only works when she uses her powers. So he sends a big muscle-bound supervillain to attack her at the club.

This attack not only ruins Velocity’s date, but when she uses her super-speed to fight the villain, Prof. Abel takes control over her and forces her run to his old military base and destroy it. Once stopped, Velocity figures out what’s going on and how. But how can she defeat someone who can use her very own powers against her? Well, that’s what you’ll have to read the issue for. But I’ll say that the resolution is pretty clever.

In addition to the action-packed superhero story, I like that Casey infuses this issue with some lighter moments, particularly Velocity’s interactions with her date. They’re conversations and her thoughts all read very natural. And Maguire’s artwork is nice and clean, making the story easy to follow. A solid done-in-one story, available digitally for just $1.99. Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS

buy it NOW on comixology

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