Velvet – Issue 1, October 2013
Written by Ed Brubaker, illustrated by Steve Epting, colored by Elizabeth Breitweiser, and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos.
I was recommended Velvet a few weeks ago by the clerk at my local comic store, when we got talking about female lead comics and the new Black Widow run. He told me that I should totally look out for Velvet when it comes out in Trade Paperback or maybe I should try and get some back issues. One thing was for sure, this guy thought Velvet was pretty damn awesome and he got me really excited about the idea of it.
Very randomly I found a copy of issue 1 on the shelves at the store some time later, so I decided to grab it and check it out.
The story kicks off in 1973 with the unexpected murder of an ARC-7 field agent. We discover ARC-7 is the best of the best and most covert of Intel organisations, and our protagonist, Velvet Templeton, is the Secretary/Office Manager for the Director of ARC-7. Through a series of flashbacks we get more a feel for Velvet and the fact that there is obviously something secret and revelatory lurking in her past. As the story unfolds, the hunt for the murderer takes an unexpected turn and it appears we are on the verge of finding out quite who the real Velvet actually is.
I wouldn’t usually review a single issue in a series, but I feel confident that the series will continue the way it has begun – with mystery, intrigue and an awesome new lead character. The lasting impression from this issue is of Velvet Templeton and a desire to find out more about this middle-aged woman, who also appears to be some sort of super spy.
The setting and the story are rich and compelling, it feels very much like something from Bond or Man from U.N.C.L.E. The intrigue is well paced and a perfect opener not only for a spy thriller but also for Velvet’s story. The flashbacks allow us to see glimpses of past events and relationships at the same time as layering the character of Velvet – all leading up to the finale of the issue. Although set in the 70s (and prior to that in flashbacks) this is not used as an excuse to portray the female characters, and most especially Velvet, as the archetypal Bond girls of that era. Her sexual relationships are commented on, but neither they or Velvet are made to seem over sexualised or titilating – they are just part of the back history.
This is definitely an exciting and refreshing new title which I look forward to delving further into! I recommend you do the same!