Review - Velvet #1

"This was when I realized just how dangerous Velvet Templeton actually was."

In a world of superhero books full of capes and tights, there are other books that are a little more grounded in reality. Many of those tales live and breathe the world of double-identities and spies, so it's always refreshing to see those themes make their way into comics. Image Comics has a book that handles those themes in Velvet #1. The book is written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Steve Epting, colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos.

Velvet Templeton is the personal secretary to the Lieutenant Director of Arc-7, one step above MI-6 that is so secretive most of there agencies of its ilk don't even know of its existence. They're so skilled that very few things turn their heads, save for the death of one of their top agents. This prompts the agency to look inwards searching for a mole or a retired agent. Velvet realizes that she's the one who can get the job done, but she's got to manage her safety as well and not get framed for something she didn't do.

Brubaker knows how to write espionage tales and layering a covert identity within a covert identity so to speak in Velvet is very effective at steeping the reader in the spy world. The fact that Velvet is billed as a secretary who's much more than that (but not really known as such to others) is very intriguing and keeps the reader guessing as to what will happen next. He writes really strong female characters and Velvet is just the latest in that trend, proving she's as smart as she's beautiful and deadly. The story itself opens up with a lot of suspense and mystery, promising that subsequent issues will be equally as tense and feature just as much covert fighting.

Epting's art is solid and handles the action very well. He handles anatomy very well, not relying on making Velvet overtly sexy to get across the point that she's flat-out awesome. He also relies on various lighting effects which hammer home the fact that spies trade in the shadows, yet his work isn't so dark that you can't see what's going on. There's a lot of action in the first issue (primarily at the end) and Epting offers the reader some great shots of the action without coming in too close to it. Breitweiser's colors are appropriately chosen as well, giving the subject matter the appropriate level of gravitas that a spy book should feature.

Velvet #1 starts a very promising tale of spies and double-crosses. The first tale pitches Velvet as more than capable of holding her own against whatever may be put in her way. And it looks like there will be a lot put in front of her as she seeks the answers to the questions being raised about the death of the Arc-7 agent. Brubaker and Epting make a great creative team and are in sync with one another, with the art supporting the script beautifully. This is a book that is just plain solid regardless of whether or not you like the subject matter and Velvet is a very strong character who earns her place in the most clandestine organization in the world.

Velvet #1 is available in stores now with interiors below.