Comics: “Velvet” is a can’t miss read
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 00:10
Comic writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting, best known for their brilliant work on Marvel’s Captain America with their “Winter Soldier” saga, have just created one of the most brilliant debut issues in recent memory.
The latest new series from Image comics, known for titles including “Spawn,” and “The Walking Dead,” “Velvet” manages to breathe fresh air into a genre that has honestly been beaten to death. Amazingly, however, “Velvet” manages to breathe fresh life into an overly prevalent genre.
Issue No. 1 of this exciting new work is entitled “Before the Living End,” and it’s quite literal in a sense.
The world of “Velvet” is a period piece set in 1973, with flashbacks taking place earlier in the 60s. The “Arc 7” HQ, a top secret black ops espionage organization founded by the Allies during World War II provides the backdrop for the series. Velvet Thompson, an agent for the organization becomes entangled when she’s set up for the murder of a fellow agent.
The title’s pacing is impeccable. Each scene is given liberal exposition with character exposure so well written, you barely have time to collect yourself when the rapid fire action sequences kick in. Bloody, brutal and hauntingly realistic, these action sequences are a truly exhilarating sight to behold.
The realistic choice of color depiction in the title, along with the art style, make it easy to imagine seeing “Velvet” cinematically adapted, with each page serving as a sufficient template for a possible story board.
However, the biggest impression one will take away from the first issue of “Velvet” is the brilliance of the title’s starring character, Velvet Templeton. More often than not, female comic book protagonists (with some exceptions) tend to be either masculinized or over-sexualized. Velvet Templeton is neither a female version of Bond, nor a Bond girl. Typically, in the espionage genre, women are only seen from the perspective of men often for a singular purpose. That stylistic form of storytelling is emulated in the title’s first few pages before the book pulls a complete 180-degree change. While we’ve barely scratched the surface of this promising character’s potential, the first issue firmly establishes Velvet as a tough as nails independent woman that is not to be trifled with.
“Velvet” is a real treat and a prime example of a comic for adults done right. It’s sophisticated, intelligent and downright brutal. There’s nothing out there quite like it right now. In her debut issue, Velvet Templeton has easily established herself as one of the medium’s most compelling new leads in years, in a traditionally male dominated genre no less. If you enjoy spy stories, action and deep character driven drama, I can’t recommend this new title enough.