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Velvet Deluxe Hardcover Hardcover – April 4, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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Can Ed Brubaker do no wrong? This book is the author's fifth or sixth consecutive home run. And yet, it is different enough from his other work to offer something new for seasoned readers. At first I was worried that without his comrade Sean Phillips the art wouldn't have the same unison with the text, but that is certainly not the case. Steve Epting's art and shading are incredibly detailed and impressively realistic (see cover). And, of course, Elizabeth Breitweiser's coloring is perfect. This collaborative work of art probably shares more in common with a blockbuster spy movie than the novels of le Carre, but that is the wonder of comics, it fills the medium between "proper" books and movies—and this graphic novel does it better than most.
That said, the story is a bit (just a bit) trite. The "framed spy" story line seems like it has been overused, and I was less-than-excited to see this story unfold into yet another framed spy book. However, the depth of the plot and the thorough character development more than compensates for the premise. I certainly recommend this book to any fan of Brubaker, any fan of spy novels (or movies), and basically anybody who wants to read an original take on some themes that are well established in our culture.
Finally, Amazon is the place to get this book. The price is considerably lower than its MSRP of $50. Unless, of course, you want to support your local comic shop with a $15 donation, nothing wrong about that.
But Velvet has a past her fellow secretaries and most of the agents don't know, and when an agent is killed in circumstances implicating another agent as a double agent, she's not about to sit idle. She starts investigating on her own.
Velvet is a former agent herself, a highly skilled and dangerous agent, and her skills are still with her.
There's a reason she's not a field agent anymore; a reason she sits quietly behind a desk and very few know her professional past. And when she starts investigating the circumstances behind Agent X-14's death, she discovers that things she believed about that past were lies. That there's a bigger conspiracy than she suspected.
That she has no idea who she can or can't trust.
Velvet's past is revealed gradually, unfolding in well-crafted layers. We learn her career as an agent in the 1950s in flashbacks, and we follow her dangerous hunt for the truth of what happened then, and the truth of the death of X-14, and what is being covered up.
There's a lot of action, and a fair bit of blood, because neither Velvet nor her shadowy opponents are playing a game here. The character development is beautifully done, and the plot builds to a convincing climax. In memory, the images try to becoming moving images in my mind; something I watched rather than something I read. Velvet Templeton is going to stay with me.
I received a free electronic galley of this graphic novel from the publisher, and I am reviewing it voluntarily.
The quality of the book was pretty much perfect. It came factory sealed and after paging through it, the book appears to be in near mint condition. One corner has a slight bend to it but it's barely noticeable.
The extra content at the end of the book is on par with similar "Deluxe" hardcovers. There is a letter from the writer, variant cover pages etc. It is fair to say that this is the definitive version of the book. The letters pages from the individual issues are not included but that is standard practice.