Crime and romance go together like peanut butter and jelly because both can be sexy and dangerous. Image Comics has a new series out with plenty of both, but is it good?
Violent Love #1 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? For the full Image summary just read this:
SERIES PREMIERE Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley were two of the most notorious bank robbers in the American Southwest. And then they fell in love. Join FRANK J. BARBIERE (FIVE GHOSTS, The Revisionist) and VICTOR SANTOS (THE MICE TEMPLAR, Polar) for a pulp-infused criminal romance oozing with style and action! Double-sized debut issue!
Why does this book matter?
First off, this is a double-sized issue so you’ll get more bang for your buck. Second off, it’s written by Frank J. Barbiere who wrote a fantastic Solar series back in 2014 that I adored. Artist Victor Santos has a gritty style that worked on Mice Templars and should certainly suit a crime comic set in the late 60’s all the way through to the 80’s.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Time to dig in to a story.
In a lot of ways this issue feels cinematic. The story opens quietly like many begin, with an old man telling a young girl a story of crime and love. As the tale cuts between time and place large text brandishes the top of the page, giving these moments in time an added bit of importance. In quick succession, Barbiere shows us the wanted ads of the lovers, their tragic demise, and the fire that drove Daisy Jane who is also the main protagonist. And of course, she has a simple beginning that anyone can relate to.
The story progresses well with a few surprises, secret pasts, and a criminal killer who has a gruesome way of taking out his targets. Time passes and key moments in life take place, making this story feel real. The story peers in on key moments for Daisy that, once the comic is over, you’ll realize the woman she becomes that was foreshadowed early on. In a lot of ways this issue serves as a great first 20 minutes of a film that’s about to get a whole lot bloodier.
The art by Victor Santos is great, pulling you in with many atmospheric and twisted scenes. Early on for instance, as we see Daisy and her lover blown to bits in a gorgeous panel, you get the sense it could play with a hit song and a slow motion pan in. When killers strike it’s disturbing due to good use of shadow and color and when things are good you see the hope in Daisy’s eyes, which makes the turn of events by the end of the issue all the more tragic.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s unfortunate this isn’t a single issue tale in part because it opens with characters we barely get to know and never check back in on. It leaves you wanting to know more about them sure, but also makes the issue a bit schizophrenic. Who are they and why should we care are questions I had that just aren’t answered. When it’s all collected I’m sure it’ll all come together, but as written here you’ll be scratching your head as to why we need these opening characters at all.
Exciting…but it won’t end well for them folks.
Is It Good?
Violent Love will draw you in and never let go. It’s incredibly cinematic at times and you’ll be wanting a whole lot more once it ends.