By Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser
To be honest, Velvet has been treading water. After starting out with a bang, the past few issue have been mostly fluff. We needed to get to the meatier stuff to keep this book on our pull list. Thankfully, the end of last issue certainly made a case for it. Oh, and so does this issue. Issue eight is fantastic.
Velvet does her best Bourne impression by kidnapping Director Manning, strapping a bomb to his chest, placing him under ARC-7 headquarters, and sending the other guys on a wild goose chase. Like all things in Velvet, nothing is as it seems. The kidnapping is just a cover so she can get inside the building. What she wants may seem confusing, but it starts to make sense by the final page.
Throughout Velvet, Brubaker has played with many spy movie tropes and issue 8 is chock-full of Bond-like clichés. What makes this story so remarkable is Brubaker has managed to make all of it feel fresh. A lot of it has to do with a strong female lead, which all of our favorite spy novels/movies sorely lacked. Everybody likes to talk about how Marvel/DC is handling diversity, while Brubaker has been quietly leading that charge for a while.
At the start of the issue, Velvet jumps off a building and the sky behind her is reminiscent of a lightly scraped painting canvas. It’s little things like this that make Epting and Breitweiser so darn impressive. At first glance, it’s just some very realistic artwork that works well in comics. If you dig a little deeper, Epting’s art has little details that give the story a whole new realm of undercover themes. The best artists add things to the story and Epting pulls that off on a consistent basis.
If anybody was considering getting rid of this title, be warned. Velvet is back and better than ever. You might not want to give up on it.