I would drape myself in this comic, if it were socially acceptable. Well, perhaps not, but I definitely enjoy reading it, at any rate. We’re now into the second arc of the story The Secret Lives of Dead Men. After spending the last month or so running all around the globe, Velvet Templeton, secret agent turned secretary turned rogue agent, has returned to London to confront the agency directly.
But, that’s not what Issue #7 is about. According to a somewhat joking tweet by writer Ed Brubaker a few days ago, this is “the ‘all man’ issue everyone’s been demanding.” Rather than follow Velvet’s investigation into the death of Agent X-14 and the events surrounding it, we get to see the agency’s investigation into Velvet, and their attempts to track her down and bring her in.
First, we follow Colt, whose job it is to follow Velvet’s trail. He knows that most of the leads they’ve found are false ones, planted by Velvet to throw them off the scent, but it’s his job to chase down every one of them anyway, just in case. But, as he does, he begins to wonder if all is really as it seems. Velvet’s actions don’t seem like those of a guilty person trying to escape.
Then, we switch to Roberts, the head of the team that’s been tasked with finding Velvet. To him, things are simpler. The guilty run. The people they’re after are the bad guys. Of course, he’s not an idiot. He knows that in the spy world, things are never that cut and dried. He just wishes they could be and is annoyed that they’re not.
One of the things that I like about Velvet is that they explore the story from all different angles and viewpoints to give us, piece by piece, a clearer view of the whole. Sometimes, it’s done with flashbacks to prior missions, or other important events that made Velvet who she is and helped set the current situation in motion. Now, we get to see some of the events of the last few issues from alternate points of view, and what it’s been like picking up the pieces that we’ve seen Velvet leave.
Velvet is a mystery. She’s a mystery to those who think of her as only a secretary, she’s a mystery to those who know who she is, but underestimate what she’s capable of, and she’s even a mystery to us, the audience. With every issue, though, we get to see a little more of her and see her in a slightly different way.
That’s a big part of what makes this comic so good. The story is great, and the writing is excellent, but the way it’s told is what really sets it apart and makes it unique. And, it’s also one of the things that makes the comic such a lot of fun to read.