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Comics Today's Date:

A Missed Gem From 2013

Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s “Velvet” is a spy thriller straight from the pages of… well, every other good spy thriller. And that is not a bad thing.

Brubaker gives the reader a solid story that plants itself firmly in the familiar settings of the genre. There is no mystical element. No superheroes. No aliens. No zombies. Just old-fashioned super spy organizations and secret agents and hidden agendas and mysteries to solve.

In today’s literary mash up world, with all of its “what a twist” surprises that make no sense, this restraint on the part of Brubaker is welcome and I commend him for it. The readers don’t find themselves waiting for a superman to show up, but rather on edge for the next car chase, gunfight or interrogation in a smoky back room.

Epting, as always, is stellar. He has definitely become one of the most underrated artists in comics. It’s a treat to see his work again. Dark tones, hard lines, tight backgrounds… this is Steve doing what he does best.

Obviously best known as a team for their classic “Captain America” run, Brubaker and Epting can be a permanent pair for all I care. Epting’s pencils fit this type of story perfectly, evoking a mood that pulls the reader into dark alleys and darker offices, populated by killers and deadly bureaucrats. His men are gruff rough riders and his women are beautiful femme fatales.

Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors put you square in the 70’s, muted where needed and vibrant when appropriate. Her colors add so much to Epting’s pencils to establish just where the reader should be in the story.

There is something to be said for taking an established genre and, instead of busting it, crafting a tale that uses all the best aspects of the genre to it’s fullest. There is an amazing amount of skill and artistry in “Velvet,” and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Velvet #3 is scheduled to go on sale Wednesday, January 8, 2014. So check with your local comics shop for those first two issues!

Kris Koller works at Earth-2 Comics Northridge, 8967 Reseda Blvd. in Northridge, California, always happy to help you find the book you're looking for. You can also venture into Earth-2 Comics at 15017 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks.

As always, look to your local comics shop for the books discussed here on Fanboy Planet -- Earth-2 in Sherman Oaks and Northridge, The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, Illusive Comics & Games in Santa Clara, Hijinx Comics in Willow Glen would all be great places, and many do mail-order business.

Kris Koller

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