Velvet #1 is flying off comic book shop shelves, sold out at the distributor level and headed back to press for a second printing on the same day it debuts. Demand is high for the spy series by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting and there are plenty of great reasons why.
Official Description from IMAGE:
When the world’s best secret agent is killed, Velvet Templeton, the Personal Assistant to the Director of the Agency, is drawn off her desk and back into the field for the first time in nearly 20 years… and is immediately caught in a web of mystery, murder and hi-octane action. Sexy and provocative, with a dark twist on the spy genre.
Velvet is set in 1973 and is full of classic spy styling, murder, double crosses, intrigue, mystery and that’s just the first few pages! OK a bit of exaggeration but it’s that good and it feels like it from the get go. The setting is Paris and we are dropped in assignment with secret agent Jefferson Keller and moments before he is ambushed and murdered in highly violent efficiency. Prior to his demise Keller reminisces about former X-Operative, Velvet Templeton, turned personal assistant to the Director of ARC-7’s agency. It’s obvious, through his musing, she’s as much a source of pleasure as she is danger.
What follows is Brubaker’s mastery of the spy genre as Velvet is called in to push the papers in the investigation and slowly reveal the nature of the agency and all the players on the board. Velvet is as classical a top-notch female spy as it gets. She’s seen her best days but she’s still as sexy and tough as nails as they come. The case of Keller’s murder turns toward an the evidence of an inside job. Velvet senses the case growing cold under her “highlighting the relevant portions” of the internal investigation and it’s easy to sense she’ll be coming out of retirement to make the case on her own.
Brubaker has established great character in Velvet Templeton and handles her in a noir femme fatale manner but still exuding above the board confidence and respect for a triple threat female lead. Brubaker also covers a lot of ground between the opening murder, ensuing investigation, flashback to the moment and events that establish Velvet and Jefferson’s relationship and the all out action when suspects begin to emerge. The ending sequence sets this series up to be one of the best of the year when the momentum shifts, the story gets turned on it head and we are off to the races.
Steve Epting’s art sets the tone for this classically dark, noir, espionage tale. The detail and design is in lock step with Brubaker’s story-telling and is a visual treat for readers. Epting’s art colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser takes the dark feel to the next level as you can only guess as what might be hiding in the shadows. Epting’s look for Velvet is both worn and weary but never loses the spark that still makes her striking and sexy.
Velvet is all you could want and more from a dark espionage period piece from two creators who maneuver through the medium with ease and grace. There’s a multitude of reasons this book is already going back for a second printing but for fans of gritty spy stories it’s simply a book that hits on all cylinders and only promises much more of the same. The first issue kicks off in high gear and never lets off the gas. It’s simply as good as a comic can get.