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Review: “Velvet” #5

Review by – Jorge Solis

An engaging spy thriller, “Velvet” #5 delivers the suspense and plot twists as the quick pace speeds up to a shocking conclusion. There’s nothing better than a gun-toting femme fatale as the lead in a spy story.
Written By: Ed Brubaker
Art By: Steve Epting
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $2.99
Release: May 21, 2013

The underground organization, X-Ops, sent their top agent, Jeff Keller, on a secret assignment in Paris. Someone shot and killed Jeff at point-blank range. At the X-Ops headquarters in London, Velvet Temptation has just learned her ex-lover was murdered in cold blood. More than just an average secretary, Velvet uses her expertise to find Jeff’s killer and avenge his death. But, everyone at X-Ops thinks Velvet is the actual murderer and traitor. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, Velvet has to find the real murderer and seek out the mole in her organization.

Writer Ed Brubaker spices things up with exotic locations and an engaging female protagonist to boot. Brubaker jumps back to q different time in Velvet’s life when she wasn’t a hard shell to crack. We learn where Velvet got her training and who was the only person that broke her heart. The fugitive-on-the-run plotline takes a backset as we settle into a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale. No one lasts forever in the espionage world, which means Velvet’s time is just ticking away.

Brubaker lets Velvet be a vixen, a fighter, and a romantic in the storyline as the writing peels away at her cold exterior. As readers, we’re learning what made Velvet turn into an excellent spy. Velvet had to make such harsh mistakes, some that even cost her own life, before becoming the mysterious agent she is.

Artist Steve Epting will definitely keep the readers hooked with his action sequences. In a more grounded and realistic style, Epting illustrates Velvet getting her butt whopped during her training days. Even though a young Velvet knows how to swing her kicks, there’s an even better fighter who can block it.

Epting makes excellent use of his exotic locations in the backgrounds. Because of the detailed drawings, you feel like you are actually there in the Bahamas. Epting captures the lush plant life, the nighttime hours, and the stylized architecture of certain buildings as Velvet walks across the paved road. I particularly enjoy how Epting has designed two characterizations of Velvet. In the present-day, Velvet is angry and has white streaks in her hair. In her younger days, Velvet is full of life and naive about her surroundings.

“Velvet” #5 closes on a shocking plot twist that gets readers excited for the next issue. If you’re a huge fan of espionage thrillers, you’re definitely going to enjoy the “Velvet” series.



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