What is it that makes Velvet such an incredible spy and keeps her a step ahead of everyone else? Is it that she’s brilliant and talented? Partly, but the agency she’s going up against is full of brilliant and talented people, too. Is it that she’s well-equipped? Not even close. She does have a stealth suit that’s bulletproof and a built-in hang glider. That helps. Aside from that, though, she’s scrounging resources wherever she can get them, while facing off against an organization with tons of people and practically unlimited funding.
No, what sets Velvet apart from the rest of the spy crowd is simply that she knows the game better than anyone. That’s why her current enemy, Damian Lake, poses such a threat: he’s one of the ones who created the game in the first place.
When we last left Velvet, she was meeting with a young woman named Rachel who could be the only one with information about Agent X-14’s final mission and subsequent death. Unfortunately, the meeting was quickly interrupted by the appearance of Damian Lake.
This issue opens with a shootout between Velvet and Lake while she attempts to do three things at once: 1. keep herself safe (relatively easy, at least on the surface); 2. keep Rachel safe (a bit more difficult); and 3. figure out what Lake is doing there and what business he has with Velvet’s witness (almost impossible).
In stakes like that, it’s very difficult to keep straight who’s working for whom, or why. Did Lake follow Velvet to the meeting? Has he also been looking for Rachel? Does he want information from her or to silence her? And what about the agent who’s been simultaneously helping and betraying Velvet the last couple of issues? Where does his loyalty truly lie?
This issue is full of action but also full of twists, turns, and fake outs, plotwise. It’s a little difficult to keep track of, and in the hands of a lesser storyteller, it would probably come off as convoluted. Here, however, the twists instead keep you on your toes and make you think harder about what’s going on.
If a comic that makes you think and work a bit to keep up doesn’t appeal to you, then this issue of Velvet might not be your cup of tea; however, if you enjoy intricate spy stories with plenty of twists and turns and plenty of action to go with it, then you’ll definitely want to check out Velvet #13.