This second issue of Velvet really brings the action right to the forefront, with Brubaker and Epting really kicking all kinds of ass on the extended fight and car-chase between Velvet and the other Agents as she escapes.
This was a fantastic sequence, exciting, hard-hitting and inventive. I especially liked the technique of showing how Velvet, and other spies, compartmentalize things. So, whilst Velvet is kicking some ass, we see circular panels of her thought process, of a map where she plans her route, of her remembering fighting textbooks, and other stuff like that, very cool. It’s a bit boring for me to just go through the sequence, but rest assured, it was great, really living up the expectations you have for a title like this from watching James Bond films, yeah, it was James Bond level-good.
But this issue wasn’t just action, as Brubaker drip-feeds us a bit more of Velvet Templeton’s mysterious back-story, as the boss hands Agent Robert files on Velvet, giving us glimpses of her past as ‘Agent Valentine’, and what kind of awesome stuff she got up to as an actual spy, from East Berlin, to Monaco, and to Prague. But what the boss doesn’t disclose is why her last mission was in 1956 and just why she became a secretary. It looks like that one is going to run and run, which is great, and Bru throws more intrigue on top of it, as another Agent (perhaps Roberts?) was involved, and suspected of being compromised.
The issue ends with Velvet given no choice but to leave England, and she swims up to a boat, waking up an old acquaintance called Burke, who she wants to smuggle her away. Brubaker continues to develop this world very nicely indeed, we know more about Velvet as a character and her history now, and the same goes for the X-14 agency as a whole. But more than that, this issue was just an exciting read, with a great fight and chase, brilliantly drawn by Steve Epting. I’ve loved his art on the likes of Captain America and FF, but this may be his best work ever.
I know you don’t need my recommendation, but come on, this book is already one of the best out there. It’s Brubaker and Epting, just buy it.