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.
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!
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.