*Note: This was written by me for another website
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Velvet picks up this month with its titular character following up on a tip from the source she tracked down last issue. The tip leads to her infiltrating a masked ball, which gives artist Steve Epting an excuse to draw some Victorian era clothing if nothing else. Since this is a spy book the masked ball is, naturally, littered with famous celebrities, royals and assassins. Velvet, being something of an assassin herself, easily picks out the other assassins and uses them to isolate her target (who is also a spy she used to know).
After a few pages of Steve Epting drawing pretty people wearing pretty clothing we get to the meat of the issue, which is Velvet linking up with her target so they can take out his assassins in a rather brutal close-quarters combat engagement. It contrasts well with the previous pages of prettiness, and the physicality of the violence is conveyed well. It does come across as a bit decompressed, but that is nothing new for this series. There is definitely a tendency to take a slow burn with its approach to storytelling. The rest of the issue is dedicated to the two characters reminiscing about the olden days, and Roman (the spy Velvet saved) drops a bombshell for this month’s cliffhanger ending (which is notably better than last month’s). I will not spoil that here, although it will more than likely be covered in the next issue’s review.
Like the rest of the series so far the story has been taking its time working its way through the plot, but considering it is not spending much time on side-plots or diversions it is going as fast as it needs to. This also gives Steve Epting a chance to let each of the scenes he draws breathe a bit. This is not a comic that you would call “rushed” by any standard. The result is quite worth it, though, and the story continues to hit a good balance between moving the plot forward and providing satisfying action sequences. I feel like I could draw some favorable parallels between this and the Burn Notice television series, although Velvet’s voice is not the same as Michael Westin’s. It is not a bad show to be compared to, all things considered.
Velvet continues to be a treat for fans of the spy genre, or even for those who simply like a good action story with a solid plot. The art is great to look at and Velvet’s narrations are good at describing what she is doing without being intrusive. This particular issue hits the right notes, and lacks last issue’s lapse in judgment regarding Velvet’s companion. This is a book worth reading at least one to try it out.