I wrote this back in 2015, when I first read Velvet. I’m finally sitting down to volume 2. What can I say? I sorta fell off the comics/graphic novel horse for a while, and I have a lot of series I’d like to catch up on.
If you need a one sentence synopsis to sell your book, you could do worse than “Imagine that Miss Moneypenny used to be a superspy, and when Bond gets killed, she gets blamed, and has to clear her name no matter how many bodies she leaves in her wake.” Velvet is one seriously cool character, and as the first volume of the series progresses, you learn more and more about her time as a spy, and the bad opp that put her behind a desk. Set deep in the heart of the Cold War, with exotic locations and plenty of action, this is a compelling comic, and one of the best things on the market at this time.
Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, who brought the Cold War to life in Captain America’s Winter Soldier arc, are unchained from Marvel’s generations of canon, able to create new characters to explore spy action where consequences are real. If a character dies, there is no editing staff insisting that he or she be resurrected six months later. Nobody is safe in this kind of story, and that’s the best. Brubaker’s writing is intense and crisp, with plenty of sudden, shocking twists, yet doesn’t feel rushed or confused. Epting’s art is typically stylish, with solid, but not flashy panel work. There’s a Film Noir style, which is enhanced by Elizabeth Breitweiser’s awesome color work.
If, like me, you’re just not all that into the caped crusaders and spandex clad heroes, comics like Velvet are an excellent option. Being a fan of Cold War spy thrillers doesn’t hurt. Brubaker has quickly become one of my very favorite writers working in the medium, and I can’t wait to find out what he has in store for Velvet in the coming months. I can’t imagine things will turn out well, but I’m guessing she’ll get plenty of bloody vengeance before it’s over. It reminds me of why I am digging Image Comics, these days. While Marvel and DC continue to flounder around with reboots and re-launches, Image is dropping some of the best comics I’ve read one after another. Sure, they’re putting out stuff I don’t care for, you can’t please everyone, every time. If you’re willing to read comics, but not interested in super heroes, take a look at Image’s catalog.