Comic Vine Review


Velvet #1 - Before the Living End Review


Spies, mysteries and big action - Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser have delivered the perfect introduction to a new character and world for us to enjoy.

The Good

There's so much right from the beginning that sets this apart as a different type of spy comic. Taking place in the early 70s, right away you get a sense of the different time period. This might limit the story in some ways but it will also help ground the story in reality a little more. Too often when we read stories involving spies and secret agencies, our sense of disbelief can get stretch to its breaking point. We can assume with this time period we won't be seeing a slew of futuristic secret gadgets that always conveniently help the agents get out of sticky situations. This appears to be more of a story on the actual characters and you get an immediate sense of the skills they possess.

Ed Brubaker also takes another different approach by not having this immediately be about going on a secret mission. The focus is actually on the aftermath of one. This allows us to get a glimpse into the inner workings of this agency and a chance to get to know our players without the forced feeling of introductions. With the death of an agent, the mystery builds. We only scratch the surface as to who Velvet is but what we do is pretty fantastic.

Steve Epting's art here is evidence why I'm so fond of him as an artist. He jumps right in and captures the feel of the time period perfectly. Combined with Elizabeth Breitweiser's colors, this book is a visual feast. We've seen the two on several superhero titles in the past but this, in no way, resembles a superhero comic. I'm always impressed when we see scenes involving other objects. Even a scene involving a car chase stands out as the focus shifts to the scenery and background rather than some characters duking it out. Adding Breitweiser as the colorist was a brilliant move. There's so many details in the expressions of the characters and the lighting used in different scenes, it all really gives the story a cinematic feel.

It's safe to say this is a series I am going to look forward to look at as much as I will to read.

The Bad

In the opening pages, there is a narration about Velvet. It's a little unclear who exactly is doing the narration, given how that scene ends. Perhaps it's a mystery!

The Verdict

This is a series that will make you want to personally thank Ed Brubaker for coming up with. It's always great to have a comic series that stands apart from the others on the shelves. Getting some variation in our reading is crucial and Brubaker gives us a different sort of spy story. Rather than focus on the unstoppable secret agent, we actually see someone else in the organization take the spotlight. It might be easy to think that just because we have a new espionage series with a female lead that things would get overly sexual. Brubaker shows that isn't the case. Velvet is not your typical female comic character and in just a few pages, she shows she can kick all sorts of ass. Steve Epting's art and Elizabeth Breitweiser's colors put this over the top. You can tell right away this is going to be a great series to read and enjoy. It's time to make room on your pull list because this is one that deserves to be on it.

16 Comments Refresh
Edited by fables87

Brubaker know's how to write an integrating female leading character. He did it on his run with Catwoman and then again with Fatale. I'm guessing he'll do it again with this. Plus this has some banging art. On my pull list!

Posted by G-Man

@fables87: Yeah. The whole time I was writing this review, I just kept telling myself, "Duh." I had high expectations before reading it and they met them with no problem.

Edited by Wolverine08

That woman on the cover has a strong resemblance to Rogue.

Edited by Mucklefluga

This was always going to be a 5 with the amazing creative behind it, can't wait to read my copy.

Posted by fables87
Posted by Wolverine08
Posted by DonFelipe

I'm gonna love this series and creative team! It seems to be a perfect blend of intriguing spy story, stunning art (the previews look amazing), female lead, and vintage cars.

Posted by ThomasElliot
Posted by victorcheenoanleu

This book was a fun ride from beginning to end. I read it twice, not cause I didn't understand but because it was so darn good.

Edited by longbowhunter

I liked this. There is good mystery set up and Steve Epting has never looked better. I think I'm starting to warm up to the spy genre. Currently I'm reading Queen & Country and have Velvet and Zero on my pull list.

Posted by Mercy_

This is one of the best first issues, and overall one of the most compelling issues, that I've ever read.

Not surprised considering who the creative team is comprised of and what publisher it's being put out under, but awesome nonetheless.

Posted by CaptainHoopla

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I had high expectations for this book with this creative team and it was easily met. The art is perfect for the tone and time period. I love that it's taking place in the '70s, it definitely adds another layer of mystery. Can't wait for the next issue.

Edited by G_Money_Christmas

This was one of the comics I planned on getting yesterday. I went to my LCS at noon (they open at 10) and they were sold out! They never sell out that quickly!

Posted by PatrickZJD

I'll tell you the truth, I think I'd've loved this issue much more if Velvet Templeton didn't look so much like Stacy London from "What Not to Wear," especially when she was holding up that joint. It's hard for me not to expect Clinton Kelly to appear from the shadows, so I lose a little bit of the moodiness this comic needs. Also, it might be me, but I think the one character, Colt, looks a lot like the actor Robert Lansing, better known as Gary Seven from Star Trek's "Assignment: Earth." I didn't realize Steve Epting did so much photoreference in his pencilling!

Posted by tomlikesfries

Amazing. That's all I can say. I had forgotten how good Epting's art was. Can't wait for the next issue.

Posted by TLAMD

the story is so good that I went right back to my store and bout the Hasting version too. never did that before the book was just that good.