Velvet #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Velvet Templeton, a secretary for a highly classified and virtually invisible spy cell in 1970’s, Cold War shaped, paranoid America is far more interesting than what the X-Operative agents whom she surrounds herself with, professionally and personally, would have ever dreamed. Executing physical prowess and instinctively adept crisis management, Velvet far outperforms and overpowers her male counterparts and completely defies expectations in her field. Wearing a veneer of assistant for the Allied Espionage Group, Ms. Templeton, exists on the sidelines to be inevitably put into play with explosive results.
Velvet Templeton is what would happen if Miss. Moneypenny was a secret agent all along and participated in far more interesting adventures of espionage and spy thrills than James Bond or any other literary clone could even imagine. From the creative team that breathed new life into Captain America with the Winter Soldier saga and (ironically) the Death of Captain America comes a very tonally similar comic but with an original character and a clever twist on a classic trope. Ed Brubaker (Fatale, Winter Soldier) and Steve Epting (New Avengers, FF) have joined forces again for their highly anticipated return to form they re-defined and mastered with their run on the red, white and blue Avenger. Velvet was a book I eagerly looked forward to and it delivered exactly what it promised and then some. High-tension action adventure, intrigue, twists, explosions, everything you could possibly ask for from an espionage book, Velvet delivers and the collaboration between the two is yet again at the height of the comic book medium.
Ed Brubaker is a writer that embraces and celebrates all the archetypes of classic pulp fiction and continues to reinvent and explore the literary tent poles that have graced the pages, screens and speakers of entertainment for decades. With Fatale, Brubaker takes the player of a Femme Fatale and places her in the centre of a twisted universe of cults, magic and crime where her story is the main drive of the book. With Velvet he rearranges the bill yet again and places the sidekick in the driver’s seat and starts the engine with what I think is an incredibly exciting, clever and fun tale. His writing has always been the highest of quality and his creator-owned books such as Criminal and Incognito are my frequent suggestions for anyone trying to get into comics for the first time. Already with the first issue of Velvet I am sure that this will be a series I recommend with equal enthusiasm and confidence.
Steve Epting’s finely detailed artwork seems so natural in the world of Velvet and his work is at its very best with this first issue. His recent runs with writers like Jonathan Hickman on FF and New Avengers have excited and impressed me but I have to say that it’s even better when in a creator-owned environment, drawing original characters and telling brand new stories. As much as his work is incredible when commissioned by the big two, I would almost always rather see creators work on their own inventions as the passion and imagination that exists on projects of this nature are more genuine and telling of the talent that exists at their fingertips. Character designs and environments are beautiful and brief snaps of violence are slick and brutal. Epting’s effort to create a 70’s setting pays off brilliantly in this first issue and you can practically hear the campy soundtrack bellowing off in the distance, complimenting every scene.
Velvet is another in an enormous wave of creator-owned excellence over at Image Comics, delivered from the team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting at the top of their game and rising.
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician, podcaster and Wednesday Warrior
Dear Ghost Factory. What Should I Read? Comic Reviews & Weekly Comics Round-Up Podcast at www.Geekstampede.com