Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Steve Epting, Elizabeth Breitweiser
Release Date: 27th April 2016
The best and worst thing about Velvet is it’s infuriatingly erratic release schedule. The good news is that we only had a two month wait this time, the great news is that Messrs Brubaker and Epting have treated us to something splendid.
Throughout the preceding thirteen issues, Ed Brubaker has tied us in knots as, through Velvet’s eyes, we’ve tried to find out just what did happen to agent X-14. With this latest ‘The Man Who Stole the World,’ storyline there is a real sense of an impending conclusion and the stakes are raised with each new part.
Last issue we learned that everything Velvet is investigating is connected to Watergate. With that reveal, Velvet does something so utterly brilliant it could only really happen in a 70’s Spy Thriller and work. Velvet’s gambit pays off, she gets the information she was seeking. Ed (keeping us hooked and baited) doesn’t share this with the reader, only that the answer Velvet received turns out to be something of a Phyrric Victory for her. The information breaks her heart, but we don’t find out why – yet. Instead, we get a final reveal that nobody saw coming as we move toward the completion of the story.
Epting’s lines and Breitweiser’s colours I’ve praised before, and I’ll do so again now. There is a fantastic realism to the drawing (as can be seen in a familiar face this issue), but it’s the mood throughout Velvet that is the real strength. Visually it’s so dark – not moody, but everything is in the shadows. It’s this most creative and fitting reflection of the themes and settings of Velvet that makes it so powerful.
This penultimate episode of The Man Who Stole the World does a brilliant job of cranking up the tension to breaking point. Velvet’s story so far has been a tangled web of intrigue and double-cross of the best possible vintage. We’ve had fourteen issues of fine 70’s spy thriller dining and I’m ready for the end, I’m dying to find out what will happen. I can honestly say there has not been one bad issue of this story so far, and part fourteen is definitely not an exception to this rule.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom