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Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End

(Velvet, #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  3,783 ratings  ·  381 reviews
From the bestselling creators of Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes this smash-hit spy thriller with a unique new twist!

When the world's greatest secret agent is killed, all evidence points to Velvet Templeton, the personal secretary to the Director of the Agency. But Velvet's got a dark secret buried in her past... because she's also the most dangerous woman alive!
Paperback, Trade, 128 pages
Published June 1st 2014 by Image Comics
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Showing 1-30
4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,783 ratings  ·  381 reviews

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May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Hey! It's an old chick who can kick ass!
Ok, maybe old isn't the right word, Velvet isn't exactly using a walker to get around, but she's no spring chicken.
Most of the folks at her Top Secret agency think she's just a secretary. Kinda like Bond's Miss Moneypenny.


But when a top agent gets killed, and a highly decorated agent in retirement becomes the suspect, Velvet decides to do a little investigation of her own on the side. And what she discovers is that someone has gone to a lot of tro
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Other reviewers have already pointed out that this story essentially asks what would happen if James Bond got killed, and it turned out that Miss Moneypenny was more of a bad-ass than he ever was? So in an effort to come up with a new way of describing this I’ll ask what if Sterling Archer got killed, and Cheryl/Carol was more of a bad-ass than he ever was?

In 1973 Velvet Templeton is the secretary to the director of super-secret spy agency ARC-7. After their best agent is ambushed and killed Vel
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ed Brubaker has few peers when it comes to the graphic novel spy game.

Case in point: Velvet Templeton, - the personal secretary to the Director of the Agency, Britain’s top spy shop – photographic memory, excellent shorthand, willing to work late hours, brews tea without equal, and was one of the most deadly agents the Agency had ever employed. This is a secret known to only a few, but when the top male agent goes down and she gets swept away in the finger pointing, all bets are off as her train
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) by: Nicholas Talty
Move over James Bond, Miss Moneypenny is taking over.

Mind if we talk about me for a minute? No? Thanks. So lovely of you.

I've never been a comics fan. I never read comics growing up and my life has always revolved around books, books, books and more books. I remember visiting my cousins as a little girl, seeing comics everywhere and thinking to myself: "these people are weird. Their books are full of pictures. Where are all the words? And what are all these bubbles for anyway?"

So there I was, l
Sam Quixote
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What if Miss Moneypenny was more than just a secretary – what if she was actually deadlier than Bond? And what would happen if she was backed into a corner?

Velvet Templeton is a desk jockey in an MI6 facsimile called ARC-7 at the height of the Cold War in 1973. X-14, the agency’s best spy, is killed by an unknown assassin, as is the retired agent who trained him – and Velvet has been framed for the murders!

Hunted as a traitor by her former employers, they quickly realise she’s far more accompli

"That's the problem with lies...they're so much prettier than the truth."

Okay, that was fun. I mean there's still Brubaker drama and darkness, but what a great story and fantastic artwork!

I'm not really a fan of spy thrillers. I do enjoy James Bond movies. But this was surprisingly entertaining, not at all dry, and it kept me on my toes. There's great action and intrigue, mystery, exotic characters, and tons of violence: fighting, shooting, chasing, and of course EXPLOSIONS! The violence is pret
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From the creators of the greatest Captain America run in history comes a cold war tale of espionage and betrayal. Another bad-ass series from Image. Run out and get this book now.
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit! Some people just got their asses handed to them. By a woman. By a woman clearly over 30!

How many times has some arrogant suit walked into my office, thinking he owns the world and I was his servant because I'm just a secretary. *imitates very annoying nasal voice*
And how many times have I wanted to punch that kind of guy?! EXACTLY!

Velvet is a secretary. Well, not JUST ANY secretary but also a secretary. And she's not taking shit from anybody, that's for sure. From page 1 we know that
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
Dave's Quick Judgement -

- Lead heroine is kick-ass, yet also sympathetic.
- More emotional depth than you find in your average spy thriller.
- Plenty of action.
- Velvet's inner dialogue is even more heart-pounding than the action sequences.
- Jaw-dropping twist at the end.

- Unfortunately, there's also still loads of unanswered questions at the end.
- Only 128 pages?!? I WANT MORE!!!!!

Much like he did with his sublime "Sleeper" series, Ed Brubaker on
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
This is like a great Bond movie. Except that Miss Moneypenny is the star, and she's far more accomplished and dangerous a spy than anyone ever expected. Brubaker does some of his best work away from the capes, so I was far from surprised with how fantastically he wrote this spy thriller. I'm fascinated by the story, which promises to have far more twists and turns ahead. And I love Velvet herself, as much as I love Brubaker for inventing a Cold War female spy who's more than sex appeal. I also l ...more
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic spy/noir thriller from Brubaker. He really is the best at this kind of story and it's the first time I've seen a female spy written so well.

Her name is velvet and she's the secretary for a super dooper secret spy agency. What even the spies don't know is that she used to be the best spy in the agency.

The story: a super dooper secret agent gets killed and that is super rare for this agency which means only one thing - there's a mole in the agency! Commence action and espionage
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Velvet is the Real Deal!!!

I picked this up because I have enjoyed other volumes by Brubaker. He definitely has the noir, crime story vibe down. This book is about a woman who everyone has been overlooked because she's the Moneypenny (as in Miss Moneypenny from the James Bond series). Nice to flirt with, make travel arrangements, and take notes in the meetings for her Director. She holds the keys to the kingdom in that way that Executive Assistants often do, but not who you would consider a field
Vicky (the Blowtorch-Wielding OotCDCB™)
This was the second graphic novel I read (ever) and I’m delighted to say that The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act was not a one-time deal for me. I actually seem to love GNs! That moment when you realize you’ve found a new niche of untapped potential in reading material:

Now, before I actually review this book let me take a moment to tell you about how silly I can be sometimes:

For some unexplainable reason, before I started reading GNs I believed the characters in them must be unavoid
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, comix, image
When the top agent for the spy organization ARC-7 is murdered, all evidence points to Velvet Templeton, the unassuming organization’s secretary. She’s innocent but capturing her is proving difficult and those hot on her trail are meeting the true Velvet, the retired secret agent with the skills to pay the bills.

While recently on vacation in Ottawa, I dropped into The Comic Shoppe to pick up Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips new noir series The Fade Out. I couldn’t find it so I asked the clerk if he
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding spy-thriller, and a world-class heroine: smart, sexy, and unstoppable.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome introduction to the Velvet story. It's dark, noir-tinged, sexy, exciting, with terrific artwork and a storyline worth following. Velvet was a top notch British agent breaking hearts and bones from Monaco to Cairo before something happened and she settled in as a trusted secretary at headquarters. But, now she's got blood on her hands, caught red-handed with a secret agent corpse. She's on the run and no one believes her anymore. I'm not a big fan of graphic novels, but this series has it ...more
David Schaafsma
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-crime
This is highly accomplished work by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, a great team. The art is especially good, and Brubaker is as usual a terrific storyteller. There's nothing here that is all that original in this Bond kinda thriller, I think, but the dialogue is Brubaker lean and it works well with the polished artwork that like Bond moves from sophisticated to violent. Okay, this one is more violent than the often cartoonish Bond. The original twist in this is that Velvet is the main character, ...more
Nicholas Talty
So apparently I only half finished this back when I thought I had finished it. Pleasant surprise really, because I got to continue with the story and finish it tonight.

If you want to read an AWESOME review of this, you can skip the rest of what I have to say and check out oOSarahOo's Review of Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End. Really, go check it out.

So I don't really have much to say that she hasn't, but this is a kick ass graphic novel. Let me share some of my own personal favorite panel
Jan Philipzig
What if Miss Moneypenny was more than just the agency's secretary? What if she used to be a super-spy in her own right? You know, without anybody being aware of it, the most secret of all secret agents... Okay, it may not be the most original or convincing premise in the world, and the execution also tends to be a bit on the generic side. And yet, this being a Brubaker book, it’s all stylish enough to make it worth your while.
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
It's no secret I'm a Brubaker fan, and an even bigger fan of his non-Supes stuff. Add to the mix Steve Epting's superb artwork, and you've got yet another strong entry into the Brubaker catalogue.

This time, it's more of the noir spy-thriller from the dark 70s.

Velvet Templeton is the secretary to the director of ARC-7, a spy agency even more secret than the CIA and MI-6 put together. Leftover from WWII operatives, ARC is the Wolverine of spy agencies (The Best at what they do, and what they do is
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: image
Steve Epting and Ed Brubaker release a spy comic through Image and I end up loving it. Am I becoming predictable? Probably. But as long as I get comics that I like, I don't really care.

Velvet Templeton breaks the 'Moneypenny' archetype in the spy genre, and see's the female leaving the desk and heading into the field. She's the main character in the story, and it's really cool seeing a female take a lead. It feels refreshing. There are plenty of good spy stories out there that see men take on t
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read 2016

Before finishing Velvet's first big arc with the last issue of volume 3 being released tomorrow, I wanted to refresh my memory of the series. I really think it should be read in one big chunk, so many small but important details are so easily forgotten in long pauses between the issues. That said, I think Velvet is, to date, the best thing Ed Brubaker has ever written. It's just awesome. The story is so well-written, it sucks you in and doesn't let go until you've finished the volume
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018, comics

Let's get the praise out of the way first. Epting's art is beautiful. Breitwiser's colors create a sense of photorealism. The story works, hats off to you, Mr. Brubaker. Okay, ready? Velvet "V." Templeton's story of figuring out who killed the best secret agent in their ARC-7 agency while trying to intentionally frame her? Personally, meh.

Enter tangent. I generally think spies thrillers are absolutely ridiculous to begin with, so I probably won't be won over anytime soon. I ended up being dist
May 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: c-comics, read-own-d
A spy-espionage story full of betrayal, back-stabbing, double-agents, false double-agents, the US and Russia conflict, and lots of gun fights.

I'm not sure I can say much else about this book. It was a fun read, but I don't feel like it did anything I haven't seen in numerous spy-action films before. It especially reminded me of the recent Hollywood film Salt (which was about a Russian spy infiltrating the US spy agency). I guess I'm just sort of bored with the concept of this book. Other than th
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-omnibus
Another recommendation from those at Omnibus collectors.

Really enjoyed this one, brought me back to the early James Bond films that I loved so much, looking forward to see what happens next.

Great artwork, and dialogue.
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Espionagem noir com a pátina vintage dos early 70's e uma personagem feminina forte - sempre tão bem trabalhadas por Ed Brubaker.
Embora globalmente competente, a arte é menos feliz em expressões faciais, frequentemente nas de Velvet, o que foi o ponto menos positivo da trade.
No enredo há tramas e sub-tramas, e presença dos secundários habituais no género, fazendo justa homenagem e criando título em simultâneo.
Aguarda-se pelo 2.º volume como pela resolução de um cliffhanger.
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
"And if there's one thing I've learned the past 18 years, it's that assistants run the world..."

But Velvet Templeton is not your ordinary secretary to the head of a top secret agency. She's got her own dark past that comes to light when she's framed for the murder of some of the agency's top operatives. And it comes as a surprise to the people trying to hunt her down as she tries to clear her name and solve the crime.

Brubaker's noir and spy game thrillers are almost always a hit with me in some
Maxine Marsh

4.5 stars.

A nice spy drama with some luscious art that packs a nice punch. The story begins with our eyes on a secretary who turns out not to be a secretary, framed and pursued for the murder of a top secret agent out of London. Velvet is an intriguing character who dwarfs the unsuspecting men around her. Wish there was a little bit more to know about this 'agency' but this is about half character driven and half action thriller, so no big deal.
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dennis by: Trish
Nothing short of spectacular!

I'm probably only repeating what other reviewers said already. But this comic is like a good old James Bond movie.

We travel around the world to uncover the reasons behind the death of an agent and kick the asses of some villains. Doing it in style, of course.

Only this time the main protagonist is not a womanizer, but a female secretary. But she is so much more than her profession. And she's no twentysomething babe either. She's in her early fourties and she seriously
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
Ever have a yearning for a good old fashioned spy thriller set in the Cold War days of the West versus the East? If your answer is yes, then pick up Velvet.

The story is arguably set during the mid to later stages of the Cold War (it just depends on how you define the Cold war IMO), and Velvet Thompson's career. She is the secretary (not executive assistant as they would say today) to the director of ARC 7. The death of the agency's top operative leads to Velvet's digging through the agent's las
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Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central and Uncanny X-Men. In more recent years, he has focused solely on creator-owned titles

Other books in the series

Velvet, (3 books)
  • Velvet, Vol. 2: The Secret Lives of Dead Men (Velvet, #2)
  • Velvet, Vol. 3: The Man Who Stole the World (Velvet, #3)