Group Review: Velvet #1

Each of the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. Here’s a blurb about the issue from Image before we begin: ED BRUBAKER and STEVE EPTING redefined Captain America with the “Winter Soldier” saga... and everything they've done so far has been leading to VELVET! 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 high-octane action. Sexy and provocative, with a dark twist on the spy genre, this EXTRA-LENGTH first issue by two of the industry's best-selling creators will knock you out!

Jordan: BUY

I’m usually not into spy fiction but then, Velvet isn’t your normal spy fiction.

Set during the cold war the story follows the super-secret agents at ARC-7 following the death of one of their best field agents. It starts with murder; from there the book introduces one of the more interesting female protagonists I’ve seen in a while in secretary Velvet. A fem fatale so secret, even the secret guys don’t know about her.

This book handles violence and plot at a breakneck pace that made me forget that I was reading it for a bit, so high octane was the comic. The characters and plot also feel nicely fleshed out, not hollow and 2 dimensional like you feel with a lot of first issues. Despite my predisposition towards the fantastic, this perfectly possible tale left me wanting more. Move over Bond, Velvet is here.

Steve: BUY

Well! That was fun! The high concept behind Velvet is basically, “What if James Bond was killed in action and a badass Miss Moneypenny set off to avenge him?” And you know what? It fucking works. But then, anyone who doubted Brubaker’s ability to pen a dynamic espionage story hasn’t been paying attention. Epting’s art in this deeply-seeded mystery tale set decades ago is one of moments, which may seem redundant in a review about a comic book (a medium that de facto celebrates them), but each of his panels is an often photorealistic pregnancy of the barely-contained tension that rumbles through the story. Furiously paced in the dichotomy of jab-like writing and sweeping visuals, Velvet is bound to be a fantastic tapestry that I can’t wait to see continue to roll out.



The smoke filled days of 1970’s spy thrillers are reborn in the pages of Velvet.  The titular hero investigates the murder of a fellow espionage artist, Jefferson.  The story features all the elements of the bygone era punctuated by Velvet’s unparalleled abilities at fighting, investigating, and spying.  Fun, but not groundbreaking, the series brings you back in time while giving a harrowing tale that leads to a hell of a cliffhanger.

Samantha: BUY

Well I am huge fan of Ed Brubaker, and this new comic just proved why all of you should love him too. Velvet has that traditional spy story, but it is done with style. I don’t know how Brubaker taps into female characters so well, but it is sort of scary. Not to mention that secret agent stories just always hit a special place in my heart. Ever since my first glance at Agent 99, I fall in love with the whole badass agent routine.

Steve Epting couldn’t have drawn up this comic better. Velvet has that nostalgic way about her, and he had to of use Stacy London when he drew her up.. Don’t know her, Google it. He picks up that spy drama perfectly. With the dark shadows, the James Bond attire, and the back alleys, he sets up exactly how I picture everything. Sometimes a comic is disconnected with the art and the vision the comic is giving you, but here it is pure magic.

I am thinking that Velvet will be my new favorite comic for the deception, aggression, and action all wrapped in a woman on a mission. You can’t get much better than that.

Adam: BUY

I love any good spy, noir, or thriller stories, and Velvet pretty much knocks all of these out of the park with its ‘dark twist on the spy genre.’  The fact that Ed Brubaker is writing it pretty much already had my expectations pretty high, and I was not disappointed.  We get a lot of exposition in this extra-length first issue, and everything from the characters to the different settings and all the mystery is incredibly engrossing.  There’s a good glimpse into who our main character Velvet is as she narrates a good portion of the book, but not too much as she seems very secretive.  It seems to be that nobody really knows who Velvet is, but judging by the end she wasn’t always just a secretary, and I’m looking forward to see where the story goes from here.  The art and coloring is fantastic as well, each setting is incredibly believable and sets the tone for the story.  For me this was most apparent in Velvet’s flashbacks whether it be, Paris in 1973 or New York in ’68.  There’s a lot to like about this book, for me this is a must-buy.

Dustin: BUY

I’m very hit or miss on Brubaker’s writing, but this one hits with me. I don’t care what anyone says, there is something about the spy genre that draws us all in. We all have our secrets and we all love to hear other peoples. The spy genre is like hearing a series of secrets revealed, but with a sense of danger attached to them.

Velvet is wonderfully narrated and while predictable with its set up, I’m curious to see where it leads to from here. This is a great first issue and Epting is a huge part of that. It’s fantastic to see him taking on something other than superheroes because he’s a fantastic illustrated and truly brings this story to life. I had my doubts about Velvet fearing that it would be too much like Fatale, but it surprised me in the best of ways.

Score: 5 Buys and a Borrow

Writer: Ed Brubaker Artist: Steve Epting Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/23/13