by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Betty Breitweiser, Chris Eliopoulos; Image Comics
Everyone loves a good spy story. A story about a debonair secret agent man off fighting, killing, and seducing for the safety of his government. It's a classic male power fantasy. But what if the story wasn't about the dashing secret agent man, but was instead about his boss' middle-aged secretary? And what if she was secretly the greatest agent of all? Velvet tells the story of Velvet Templeton, the confidential secretary for the director of ARC-7, a pan-NATO super secret agency. When agent X-14 is killed on a mission gone wrong, ARC-7 is thrown into disarray in an internal manhunt. A manhunt that soon turns to Velvet, unleashing her secret past as an agent, and sending her on a mission to discover who is the true traitor. Velvet is a comic of pure class: a retro dream of classic spy action rendered in beautiful, cinematic shadow and colour. It's like a classic espionage movie poster sprung to life with all of the class, sex, and danger inherent in its promise. Velvet is also emblematic of the mercenary value of exploring women in fiction: this is a really engaging comic that explores the stories of women in a genre that tends to treat them like props and finds some incredible stuff there. If you are a dude looking for the whats-in-it-for-me of depicting women in fiction, stories like this are one of the reasons why you should care about diversity in media. But mostly Velvet is just a great comic.
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