Velvet, vol. 3

Summary: The strands of the mystery finally bring Velvet back home to the US, and to Washington, D.C. no less, for an explosive finale. Collects VELVET #11-15

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Velvet, vol. 3, by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser 7.75

Now on the run, having been double-crossed by Damian Lake, Velvet reconnects with Maximillion Dark, one of the world’s best spies and a former lover. She not only seeks his help, she’s trying to ascertain if he’s involved. But, both being spies, she never knows who’s playing who and what’s real and true.

One thing for sure, though, she’s getting closer to her target – with Lake’s able assistance, as he’s knocking off one by one the people she’d been suspecting, getting revenge for the 15 years of incarceration they subjected him to. But this means that the level of danger to Velvet is increasing.

And Velvet isn’t the agent she was in her prime.

Volume 3 concludes the series in a satisfying way, tying up all the loose ends, lifting the curtain on the conspiracy that Velvet had been uncovering from day one. But I can’t say that I fully understood how it all came together; I suspect that I may have to re-read the whole set in a row to get it.

And there’s the no-small matter of Velvet’s kidnapping of a very important political figure, which left me incredulous to say the least. I appreciate Brubaker’s attempt at incorporating his fictional world in the real world, because it gives his story more teeth, but I felt that he pushed it too far.

Add to this the ending, which I felt was unrealistic. Don’t get me wrong: I like and believe the conspiracy at the heart of the series, but Agent Simonson’s role in the finale, and the way Velvet wrapped up everything just didn’t seem credible given the scope and depth of the forces working against her.

So I was a bit disappointed with this final book. A wee bit. Still, even as a letdown, this collection is stronger stuff than most other series could ever dare hope to be. Brubaker is a sharp writer who plays to his strengths, and has certainly honed his skills through the years. I’m a serious fan of his.

The art continues to be stellar here. It appropriately reminds me of those European comic book series whose subjects mirror this strip: conspiracies, shadows forces, corrupt government officials, …etc. Truly, Epting and Breitwieser couldn’t have been a better duo for Brubaker to collaborate with.

In the end, ‘Velvet’ may not have graced us with the subtlety you’d expect from real espionage, but it offers a very enjoyable ride, the likes of which could easily be turned into a feature-length motion picture, or perhaps a six-part television mini-series. If Hollywood is smart, it’s being optioned now.

Hmmm…

I wonder who they’d cast…

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