Velvet : Before the living end by

Back in November LadyBusiness celebrated Superwomen & Comics Week, and as part of that they had a “links of steel” post in which several comics were recommended. I caved and bought a few. The first of these that I’ve read, so far, is Velvet, volume 1, because of the Wired review

The hook being :

Turns out this isn’t a story about Moneypenny, the secretary waiting for James Bond behind a desk at MI6. It’s a story that asks, what if a 40-something secretary was secretly James Bond all along?

Now, I’ve never been a huge James Bond fan. I enjoy some of the films more than others. I’ve probably seen 90% of the films, but if you asked me to name them I’d probably be in trouble after three or four titles. I am, however, married to a James Bond fan. But that is my cross to bear :)

Despite my lack of Bond love I was intrigued by the idea of a female Bond.

It starts out in the 1970s with Velvet as a secretary, but she is drawn into a web of intrigue ((you just gotta have the webs of intrigue)) and flashbacks reveal her back story during the Cold War and her escapades as a spy back then. All tied into the 70s storyline.

It has been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel, and it took me a bit of time to get my head back into the graphic aspect of the reading. I often start out reading these too fast, because I’m concentrating on the words, but of course the pictures are vital to the story as well. Once I was able to adjust my reading I enjoyed Velvet more than when I started out. I’m not sure if part of that was because the story developed or we got to know the character more. But the second half, to me, was the better half.

And of course, it is volume one so don’t expect everything to be tied up, in fact, by the end there are more questions than ever.

Velvet herself is an interesting character; she’s in her forties when the story begins, so her story is very much one of looking back, and looking at what happens to people who do the things that spies do. Usually those aren’t very pretty things, and they leave behind an impact.

And of course, as this is the story of a female spy there has to be some investigation of the difficulties of a woman in “a man’s world”. And Brubaker has made it clear that he didn’t want there to be some terrible tragedy that drove her into becoming a spy, after all, do men? She was simply the daughter of a spy and learned about the life from him. Well, part of the life, the exciting part that would get somebody interested in becoming a spy.

I do hope that the second volume will be released soon.

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