Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mini-Review: Velvet, Vol. 1

In Youth Librarylandia, we all know that to get what we want, we don't call the school principal, we call the school's secretary.  For it is she who rules the school.  She is the gatekeeper, the Heimdall of the Bifröst of Education.

Somehow, the world's smartest spies didn't figure out that Velvet Templeton, secretary in an ultra-secret spy organization running alongside the CIA and MI-5, isn't just a pair of legs to ogle.  And oooh, they're gonna pay for that oversight.

Because the efficient Miss Templeton isn't just a secretary (if one can be "just" a secretary, and I think not): she's a kick-butt, highly trained operative who retired after a tragic personal incident.  She knows the agency inside and out, and she's just been framed for murder.

Velvet Templeton does not take this sitting down behind an office desk.

She definitely didn't kill the star agent, a James Bond type, but she can identify four major suspects.  So she goes on the run to figure out what the deceased agent's last contacts can tell her about what he was doing, and, perhaps, why he was killed.  Velvet's not perfect--after all, it's the early 1970s now, and she's been out of the field for almost two decades--but who wants to read about perfect spies?  Give me your broken and your tarnished and your tormented characters.

At first, I didn't really love this.  But then I read volume two (review forthcoming) and it was like the heavens opened up and the noir choir sang and all was well with the world.  The one bit that threw me were the flashbacks to the various "marriage" sequences, but again, the second volume clears that all up.  I do prefer Sean Phillips' art to Steve Epting's, but it's still very stylish and crisp.

Miss Templeton will see you now ... with a roundhouse kick to the face.

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