In many ways, Velvet has the feel of a James Bond film. It features a top secret division of elite super spies who go on dangerous black ops missions while wearing tuxedos and bedding secretaries. Except, in this case, it’s the secretary who’s the focus of the comic—the titular Velvet, who quietly handles paperwork for the director of the X-Ops, but who has more dark secrets and hidden talents than anyone realizes.
The story opens with the murder of hotshot field agent Jefferson Keller. He was ambushed and gunned down in Paris, which is understandably very upsetting to the rest of the agency, Velvet in particular. Her superiors can’t seem to find any good leads, so she starts investigating the case herself, putting herself into great danger in the process. But, then again, it’s quite clear that Ms. Velvet Templeton is not the type to shy away from danger.
The comic is set in the early ’70s, with occasional flashbacks to earlier, which serves to cement further the classic James Bond feel. Artist Steve Epting gives us a gritty, realistic look, which matches the somewhat dark and cynical story by writer Ed Brubaker (who previously collaborated with Epting on Captain America).
Velvet is clearly a complex and tortured character, but, in this first issue, we don’t get more than a few hints as to what those tortured complexities might actually entail. Not that this is a bad thing. In a story like this, you can’t give everything away in the first issue, and the details of Velvet’s checkered past will no doubt unfold in due time. Still, keeping everything so close to the vest means that this first issue takes some time to get into.
It does deliver action, though, and intrigue, which are two essential components for any good spy story. They’re not the only essential elements, certainly, but they’re enough for now to grab us and make us interested in what happens in the next issue. This issue is a pretty good teaser. We’ll see if Brubaker and Epting can deliver more as the story unfolds.