Former secret agent Velvet is on the run and the only way to clear her name is to discover what really happened to another agent, Jefferson Keller, who was recently killed in action. Sgt. Roberts, however, is on her trail, tearing apart her flat in hopes of finding any clue as to her whereabouts. A man named Burke helps her sneak out of London and then the pair head to Yugoslavia following Velvet’s one clue, a missing day in Keller’s log.
Velvet is cold and calculating and excellent at what she does. She pulls a James Bond and uses her powers of seduction to gain information. The problem we run into however, is that she’s maybe too good. It gets a bit hard to root for someone that’s flawless. But there are a couple of instances where she breaks her icy outer shell. At one point she gets embarrassed when Burke makes a flirty comment, at which point she says something about being past her prime. Then the climax of this issue she makes a huge mistake which changes the course of her story because she exhibits emotional weakness. So she isn’t strictly a calculating ice queen. She screws up, so that helps make her more human.
As for the story, it’s a great spy yarn, that references typical tropes of the genre, but it still comes across fresh. It sort of reminds me of Darwyn Cooke’s run on Catwoman, which took the heist genre, gave it a feminine spin and added some fresh ideas. Ed Brubaker is doing that with the spy genre here.
Steve Epting’s art is fantastic as always. It’s fluid, expressive… cinematic even. I love that Velvet isn’t “pretty.” She’s not the typical comic book sex pot, but she’s 100% sexy. Just not in a cheesy superficial way.
The first issue of this book was nearly flawless. The subsequent issues haven’t been quite as impressive, mainly because I really loved the period aspects in the first issue. That hasn’t been revisited since. These issues may as well be taking place in the present, but even so, this is a bang up, must read series.
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art and Cover by Steve Epting