Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'Velvet' #11 by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting


★★★★★ (5/5)

The spy genre is as popular as ever. You just have to look at your local cineplex this year alone and see how enduring spy tales still are. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is the latest instalment of the long-running series that was based on a television show. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is another television show turned big screen adaptation. The grandaddy of them all sets James Bond on another moody and dark mission later this year in SPECTRE. And there's still comedies like Spy and American Ultra that put a funny spin on cloak and dagger adventures. Skeptics talk about a mythical superhero movie fatigue yet spy movies are just as prevalent with nary a word.

The best spy tale being spun right now doesn't take place on television or in a movie theater, it's happening between the pages of ink and paper of Velvet from Image Comics. Writer Ed Brubaker and artists Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser are in a groove with the latest issue, #11, as a new arc begins.  

Velvet Templeton comes out of hiding to continue her investigation into who set her up and killed her colleagues. The clues begin to dry up in Europe leading her to believe the answers could be found in the United States. She gets reacquainted with an old friend and slyly sets her plan in motion to hop the Atlantic without getting caught. 

Brubaker and company have hit their stride in telling a consistently compelling spy thriller with twists and turns that you'd expect from the genre. But the execution is effortless and nearly flawless. Even when tropes appear, as is typical within the genre, Brubaker infuses the story with a new wrinkle. The biggest asset is Velvet herself. She's not just a "strong female character" she's smart, deadly and decisive. She's always in control whether she's conning a connected accountant or using sex to meet her needs, Velvet is James Bond sans the male privilege. She has to use her underestimated status as a woman of the 60's to her advantage. 

Epting and Breitweiser dip every page in a murky pit of atmosphere and noirish decadence. Epting cleverly angles the perspective looking up at Velvet in certain panels reminding us that she commands respect and should be looked up to. She's nobody's fool. Epting's character design of Velvet makes her more believable because she's attractive but not in a cheap way. Shadows permeate every scene but are delicately balanced with Breitweiser's use of tempered colors.

Velvet is Brubaker and Epting at their best. Fans of their work wouldn't expect anything else. They deliver to bring another thriller to life that's smart, sexy and engaging. The new arc is off to a great start and one that shouldn't be missed.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

REVIEW: 'Slots' #1 by Dan Panosian

Created, written, and drawn by Dan Panosian, 'Slots' #1 is his baby and he has a story to tell at his own damn pace. This beautifully illustrated story is centered squarely on former boxer Stanley Dance and his attempt to find redemption despite being someone without many redeeming qualities.


SLOTS #1 
Writer: Dan Panosian Artist: Dan Panosian Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: October 4, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Slots' is more of a character study than a rip-roaring crime caper but Panosian's protagonist is a charming cad, full of confidence, capable of swindling you out of a restaurant bill with a devilish grin on his face. He's headed back to Vegas to fulfill a favor he owes. He returns to his old haunts where everyone knows him and knows he must be playing some kind of angle. 'Slots' succeeds because Stanley is so magnetic even when he's a jerk he's interesting. So following him around town meeting up with old friends is…

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #2 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo

As Carin becomes accustomed to her new abilities, Stryker is determined to keep her out of the line of fire. He knows these "gifts" come at a price. Meanwhile, The Accuser recruits a dangerous ally.


CYBER FORCE #2  
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Edited by Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: April 25, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill set the foundation in issue one with the explosive and destructive arrival of The Accuser. In her wake was the shattered body of Stryker, who along with his paraplegic daughter, get an extraordinary chance to become not only whole again but enhanced. Carin has taken to her powerful working legs with enthusiasm and joy. Stryker not so much because he knows they're being used by C.O.I.It's an uneasy arrangement but origin stories are rarely simple and carefree. Whether one's powers are considered a gift or a curse, there is a price to pay i…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …