Velvet 13 (February 2016)

Velvet #13

Epting gets a little loose this issue, but it’s some great action art. The thing about Velvet is how well the creators understand what they’re doing. Brubaker occasionally pushes too far–The Rock Sean Connery thing–but Epting never does. His seventies action is perfect.

Brubaker does a talking heads book, mixed with some stylized action and dramatic–but uniquely underplayed–story beats. It’s a strange book–the situations aren’t spy movie, but spy novel. There’s no way, CG or no-CG, you can do some of Velvet’s stunts. So, instead, Brubaker and Epting have figured out how to perfect the spy comic. Same basic genre, only they get to take advantage of the comic book medium’s particularities to further the tale.

Velvet’s potential successes are limited–it’s pulp, there’s only so much anyone can do with just pulp–but Brubaker and Epting take it seriously. They’re pushing at the boundaries of the genre. Seeing them take it seriously is part of why Velvet is so much fun to read.

CREDITS

The Man Who Stole the World, Part Three; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Steve Epting; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; letterer, Clayton Cowles; editors; Sebastian Girner and Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

Kennel Block Blues 1 (February 2016)

Kennel Block Blues #1

Prison comics are, often from Boom!, now a thing. Ryan Ferrier and Daniel Bayliss’s Kennel Block Blues is an animal kennel–a cross-species animal kennel–as a prison. It’s one of those books I sort of wish I’d see from Vertigo. Well, Vertigo a few years ago. Something media-friendly without being prepackaged for other media. It’s mainstream pop culture, but the more erudite varieties.

It’s also excellent.

Ferrier’s protagonist, whose name I don’t remember–Buddy, maybe–is freshly incarcerated. He’s the entry point. Through him, we meet the other canine inmates–the cats are the dominate species in Blues. There’s male and female inmates together. Not even a thought, presumably because they’re all spayed and neutered.

There’s funny pet stuff, there’s depressingly bleak prison stuff. Ferrier’s got the right tone and he’s got the right artist. Bayliss has been kicking around for a while and Blues has his work the tightest I’ve seen it. He gets to be busy but still restrained, still focused on moving the story forward.

Knowing Ferrier, the ride will be rocky but rewarding–or maybe he’s got a better plot line this series. Blues is a confident, assured comic. The creators, the editors. It’s deservedly slick. Ferrier’s gotten to be a writer I look forward to reading. And Boom!’s brand comes with some built-in respect these days.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Adam Metcalfe; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Mary Gunport and Eric Harburn; publisher, Image Comics.

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