Velvet hits it’s stride in issue #3 with plenty of espionage and a deeper development of what happened in the days prior to X-14’s death. Velvet is one tough customer and the new face of the spy genre.
Official description from IMAGE:
You all know the story: a beautiful woman seduced by a secret agent into revealing secrets and helping him on his mission… but what happens to them once the agent is gone? Find out in issue three, as Velvet tracks Agent X-14’s most recent asset down very dark paths.
Ed Brubaker takes Velvet to the next level, or depths depending on your point of view, with issue #3. While on the surface it seems as though she is still on the run from last issue she is really retracing murdered agent X-14’s steps prior to his death and now the fun really begins! What’s interesting about Velvet is how she so easily slips back into badass, unfazed spy mode after such along time away from the game and badass is an understatement. This issue follows the leads on X-14’s dealings with a Russian General’s wife ultimately drawing Velvet into the dark recesses a Russian prison. What and how she discovers all this information is why Brubaker is at his best with Velvet.
What could easily be a simply retread of a generic spy story is so much more an it’s because of Velvet’s character. Not because she’s a woman but an agent, forced through her personal attachment to X-14, back into the spy trade. But it’s also watching her reemerge and redevelop as the best of the best which keeps the thrills pumping. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the information she needs, without compromise, clearly defining her skill set. She knows who to target and what it will take and Velvet is willing to go the distance.
Steve Epting’s art drives home the darkness and virtual seclusion Velvet must work in but can dress any scene up to disguise the corruption lying underneath. Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors are a magnificent blend of darkness and a monochrome palette which clearly sets the mood and tone. Visually the entire package is like watching the best noir director revealing in his element. This is the way espionage should look and feel.
What begins as discover will lead to utter chaos and confusion for Velvet and Brubaker adds the nice touch of foreshadowing as she realizes even before it begins that this whole operation is about to go south in the worst of ways. And like the very best thrillers Brubaker lets the reader discover the mystery’s answers simultaneous with Velvet continuingly keeping you guessing and shocked. The very little bit of Burke, Velvet’s ally, is spot-on for a little levity and some very bad ideas but ultimately he’s a great compliment to Velvet in both age and experience.
Velvet is good and getting great. Brubaker is creating another classic character and one who breaks the mold of generic spy characters. The ending hits a high note and will send Velvet into overdrive and may learn things she never wanted or expected moving forward. This is a spy genre fan’s dream and if you aren’t picking up this title you are simply missing out on some exciting storytelling!