Velvet is back! After spending the previous issue focusing on the agents on our heroine’s trail, the rogue spy is once again front and center—and she’s gone on the offensive. Having returned to London, Velvet is going to great lengths to get inside the agency she’s been falsely accused of betraying. She kidnaps her former boss and straps a bomb to his body, just to create a distraction big enough for her to get past security. The director of the agency warns her that any and all sensitive information will be immediately locked down in such an emergency, impossible to access, but Velvet is undeterred. She obviously has a plan. What that plan actually is, we can only guess.
As usual, this issue has a lot of great action, cunningly executed plans, and generally cool spy stuff. In particular, we see the return of the hang gliding stealth suit that we saw in Issue #2. Back then, it was a surprise, completely out of left field. Now that we know what it is and what it can do, though, it’s still a fun trick to see in action.
Those fun, little tricks are part of what makes Velvet such a compelling comic. A bit like Burn Notice, the former spy, now fallen from grace, must now depend on only her wits and her training against a much larger, better-equipped organization and use every skill, gizmo, and contact at her disposal in order to deal with seemingly impossible situations.
The fun tricks and impossible situations are only part of it, though. What really makes this comic special is the ongoing story arc. It’s expertly crafted and obviously very carefully planned out, but it reveals itself only very slowly. Each issue, we peel back another layer of Velvet and her past. And, in each issue, we peel back another layer of exactly what she’s up to. Writer Ed Brubaker reveals just enough to keep us on the hook and wanting more.
If you’re not reading Velvet, you should be. It’s one of the best comics currently in production—and I’m hardly the only one saying that. A number of other reviewers and comic fans agree. It’s smart, well written, well drawn, and always fun to read. Begin with Volume 1, Before the Living End. Then, get started with the current volume, The Secret Lives of Dead Men. You’ll thank me, I promise.