Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Review by Joey Braccino
Velvet #1 is a strong debut for promises to be yet another creator-owned gem coming out of the Image Comics publishing house. From the A-list creative team to the palpable espionage inspiration, Velvet is a spy-thriller comic done right.
Before I even knew what Velvet was about (which I’ll get to in a minute), I knew I was picking up this book simply because of the names attached. Ed Brubaker’s hard-boiled storytelling blends noir, pulp, and suspense into an enthralling reading experience. Steve Epting’s moody realism captures the shadowy, violent world of Brubaker’s script perfectly, and Bettie Breitweiser’s versativel color palette covers everything from stark reds to cool blues. Even Chris Eliopoulos’ lettering is the best-of-the-best—look no further than Marvel’s Hawkeye for proof that the man knows design. Actually, my familiarity with all of these brilliant artists comes from their work on some of the House of Idea’s very best books from the last decade. Brubaker and Epting’s work on Captain America made a die-hard Marvelite out of me. Bettie Breitweiser’s work on Winter Soldier absolutely stuns. And Chris Eliopoulos’ lettering almost always warrants a shout-out in my reviews. It is precisely because of veritable creative dream-team that I was excited for Velvet #1. Ed Brubaker clearly knows who he wants for his stories, and he could not have picked a better team for this book!
Velvet opens with a quintessential espionage-thriller action sequence; a tuxedo-sporting X-Operative secret agent embarks on a dangerous mission. Complete with slicked-back hair and Aston Martin, Brubaker and Epting set (and subvert) the mission of Velvet within the first three pages. The rest of the book follows protagonist Velvet Templeton—now a secretary for ARC-7, an offshoot of the WWII Allied Espionage Group—as she attempts to suss out just how the X-Operative’s mission could have ended so tragically (no spoilers!). What she stumbles upon is a web of intrigue and conspiracy reminiscent of the classic era of 1960s and ‘70s spy novels and films. In addition to the mystery of the X-Operative, Brubaker also kickstarts the mystery of Velvet’s past life—she may be a secretary now, but her skill-set and cynicism are more akin to her secret agent co-workers…
Must read. Ed Brubaker has gathered the best of the best for Velvet #1, and the result is an engaging opening issue to a fascinating genre comic.