Violent Love Volume 1
Writer: Frank Barbiere
Art: Victor Santos
Publisher: Image Comics
A Review by Greg Brothers
Crime Sprees and love stories. You can probably think of quite a few examples both in fiction and in real life where one has led to the other. Bonnie and Clyde being the most famous followed closely by Mickey and Mallory from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. Most of these types of stories follow the same basic premise of a naïve innocent girl trying to pull herself up and somehow getting mixed up in the wrong crowd, and many times with the wrong guy until they somehow find a tragic end. While that is the basic premise behind Violent Love, Barbiere adds enough twists to the premise to make to story original.
Violent Love Vol. 1 tells the story of Rock Bradley and Daisy Jane. A star-crossed couple who are said to have burned out as quickly as they came onto the scene. We are introduced to the story by Lou is who trying to entertain Penny, the daughter of a friend who needed Penny looked after while she ran an errand. Lou is a retired cop and is said to have had run-ins with Bradley and Daisy, including a time where the couple saved his life.
Daisy is a young woman who is working in the local dinner trying to save up enough money do she can go to college. She is living with her grandfather, who owns the local garage. Through a series of events the grandfather starts allowing the local mob boss to use his garage for after hour meetings. Daisy finds out about her Grandfather falling into some of his old habits and it causes a rift in their relationship, until the Grandfather agrees to stop helping the local boss. After Nails doesn’t take kindly to the Grandfather cutting him off from use of the garage up to him again, Daisy turns to a life of crime to get revenge. For his part despite having very few morals Rock Bradley does constantly try to talk Penny out of her plan to go after Nails and his gang.
Violent Love Vol. 1 could have easily become a typical love story, star-crossed lovers, crime drama. Barbiere does an excellent job of keeping that from happening by creating some unique twists. The fact that Daisy is not only a willing participant but in many ways the one who is the leader and the mastermind behind the crime spree as she seeks out revenge. The evolution of Daisy as a character is a natural progression that makes sense. The way she is written you can feel the frustration and the anger grow in her until it has almost consumed her, as she makes more brash and irrational decisions as the story goes on. The unique way that Rock is constantly trying to teach Daisy while also encouraging to give up on her hatred and need for revenge provides another unique and fresh approach. Rock is trying to find that perfect balance of protecting her by teaching her what she needs to know to survive without encouraging her further decent to the dark side.
The art in Violent Love Vol.1 is gritty and violent. The use of panels with black and white and touches of color helps to highlight the importance of some of the stories turning points. It provides a feel that is cinematic at points as the artist illustrates what is on the character’s mind on one side of their face and the facial reaction on the other side. It provides the unique perspective of having the thoughts and the feeling exposed at the same time. The art is violent at times as it does not hide how brutal life with some of these gangs is, especially when those attacks become personal.
Buy! Violent Love Volume 1, is a fun read. It is a unique take on the classic idea of the violent love story. We have the idea of love lost, betrayal, and revenge all built into the story throughout. The evolution of Daisy as a character make it an excellent read as you can feel those changes and they feel natural for what she has gone through. I am interested to see where the story goes with Lou and the daughter because I think each of them have more that they are hiding.