Depending on how much of a stickler you are for near mint/1st printings/value, I either got lucky or screwed. I was way late to my weekly pull and (despite impressive 50k+ print runs) both Velvet and Pretty Deadly were sold out. But as I checked out, I noticed a copy sitting on the back counter. I asked if there were any more and they said I could have that one. Getting around to reading today, I believe it to have been a returned copy (though likely unknown to the employee helping me) since there were a few gently torn pages in the middle of an otherwise pristine book. But, for me, I don't care. I'm just happy to have the book.
And it's a great book.
For fans of pop-spy stories in the James Bond/Man From U.N.C.L.E. vain it's a beautiful twist on a familiar structure. Essentially it's a "What If...Moneypenny were really the best spy in the agency?" But it's richer than that. Velvet Templeton had the potential to be the best but she settled for a desk job instead, running the department as the director's right hand. Now, with one agent, the series' James Bond, gunned down, Velvet puts herself back into action.
I love Steve Epting's Velvet, a mature woman, late 30's I'm guessing, if not early 40's, not your usual comic book bombshell. Attractive, but not a supermodel... I actually thought "she's a handsome woman". She has taken excellent care of herself, is a liberated woman (this in the 60's/70's Cold War setting) but is just enough out of conditioning to be problematic when she ventures into action. Under Epting's pen she exudes confidence, but her rusty skills play out beautifully in her physicality.
I've invested heavily into Bond films and comics this year, and yet I think Velvet is one of the best Bond stories that isn't a Bond story. Love it. Awesome. Get it.