Publisher: Image Comics
Story: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Steve Epting
Colours: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Velvet #2 from Image comics is an action-packed installment in this excellent new series from writer Ed Brubaker. Issue #1 ended with us realising our eponymous heroine Ms Velvet Templeton was anything but a pen-pushing secretary. This second issue is structured with two narrative threads running simultaneously that show just how wrong people are to underestimate Velvet Templeton.
On the one hand we have Sgt Roberts (after failing to catch her) demanding to know from his superiors at the mysterious ARC-7, just who the hell Velvet is or used to be. Interspersed with this we see Velvet’s earlier escape from Sgt Roberts and ARC-7’s tactical squad.
Velvet doesn’t say a whole lot in this issue but we do get a lot via her inner monologue, through which we learn that the skills applicable to her former life as an elite field operative have never really dimmed with the passing of the years. Indeed they are something of a second nature.
Whilst there is plenty of action in this issue, involving gun lay and car chases, the quieter office set scenes are dripping with their own tension too, which is a credit to Brubaker and the art team. Velvet really is a love letter to the spy thrillers of the 70’s. There is even a lovely montage showing velvet’s earlier exploits in the late 40’s and early 50’s in places like east Berlin, Monaco and Prague. It adds a lovely cinematic quality to the story.
The pencils from Steve Epting are superbly detailed and lend a realism to Brubaker’s story that few other artists could match. Some lovely touches include angled paneling during the action scenes and little circular inserts that add depth to Brubaker’s exposition.
Colours from Elizabet Breitweiser are just to-die-for. Even if you don’t like the spy genre or comic books in particular (you’ll hardly be reading this then will you?) I urge you to look at this series to see the full majesty of Ms Breitweiser’s palette. How she is able to evoke the murky paranoia of the spy trade with hues of blue and purple truly is an alchemy of sorts.
Overall this issue of Velvet justifies it’s pull-list status. Brubaker is knocking it out of the park with his tale of an old spy forced back in to action, and the fact that it’s a female doing the ass-kicking is a breath of fresh air.
Patrick is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @RepStones.