Pullbox Reviews: Velvet #14 – Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Velvet #14

Velvet-14

Writing: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting
Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Letter: Chris Eliopoulos

Publisher:  Image

Available now

Delayed gratification is the name of the game with Velvet. We are on issue #14, and the book started in late 2013, so you need to be willing to wait between issues. However, the pay-off is worth the
wait.  This series is set to wrap up next month, so this is your penultimate glance back.

Velvet is James Bond, where Miss Moneypenny is an agent, and every bit as dangerous as any “man” in the field. She’s sexy, smart, well-trained and resourceful. She’s caught up in a web of
layers upon layers of lies and deception, and her instincts tell her to trust no one. She’s cleared her name from one murder, found out that the worst night of her life wasn’t her fault, and has finally returned to the US to get to the bottom of her own mystery. In this issue, she needs answers, and there’s only one place she’s going to get them – going straight to the top. There are chases and investigations that only live in Brubaker’s World.

Ed Brubaker does this kind of gritty crime/espionage/procedural drama so well. If you’ve read what he did on Gotham Central, or books like Sleeper, Criminal or The Fade Out, you know that this is going to be a great ride. It’s full of all the misdirection, twists and turns that we’ve come to expect of his stories, but maybe the best part is that he not only made the secretary into an agent, he made her a mature and very human woman. There are times in this series where she’s really pushing herself, and only someone who knows how it feels to get older can understand her pain. Plus, she’s had to be just THAT MUCH BETTER than all the men – a little faster, a lot smarter, and infinitely more resourceful – to be recognized as any kind of equal to the agents she’s fighting in the early 1970’s. Brubaker references the time frame and its patriarchal leanings without beating it to death, and in doing so gives us a brilliant story.

Steve Epting does beautiful things, and while he doesn’t complete Brubaker’s sentences like Sean Phillips, the two are very much in sync when it comes to impeccable storytelling. Much like their work together on Captain America, they meld very well in communicating the story with a combination of style, grit, and gorgeousness. Epting’s painted covers are stunning, and really set the mood of every segment of the story. I usually read it once for the story and then look through a second time just for the art. Oh, and the Presidential likenesses in this issue are spot on. Lovely colors from Elizabeth Breitweiser, giving the story the dark and occasionally sexy mood it needs.

I can’t encourage you enough to pick up the two trades and previous issues of this book. I’ve you’re going to jump on to this story arc, it starts at issue #11 and is totally worth hunting down. The next trade comes out in July, so I won’t judge you if you wait. Just read them all.

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