By Daniel Vlasaty
Up until very recently I had never read a single issue of Violent Love. Before I read this issue, issue #7, I binged the first trade and also issue #6. It was a book I was aware before that, but for some reason I never went to it. I think it maybe had something to do with the "romance" part of it, but I don’t know. I'm not big on romance comics. But I was definitely drawn into the Bonnie and Clyde vibe of it after I got into it. Even though, still, the romance part is very minimal. I can feel it building between the two character, between Daisy and Rock, but I just don't get the feeling that it's ever going to be a huge piece of the story. If I had to guess on their great romance, I would say that I can see it being like an M-80 (or something), all build-up, followed by a quick and loud and hard explosion, and then that's it. I don't know. Maybe. We will have to wait and see while this story continues to unfold. This is a review of issue #7 of Violent Love by Frank J. Barbiere and Victor Santos.
The idea of a young couple, fresh and newly in love, on a cross county crime spree is not a new one. It's something that's been done before in movies and TV shows and even in real life. But the thing I like about this one, about Daisy and Rock's spree, is that it's focused. At least it is for Daisy. For her it's more about revenge than it is profit or lust or whatever else drives people to do violent and illegal and fucked up things. The thing about revenge, though, is it makes people fucking stupid. It makes them sloppy. Too eager and looking for that quick pay-off. People out for revenge have built the act up in their minds so much that when it’s right there in front of them they can’t contain themselves. Revenge makes people act. It fucks with your brain. Not that I know from personal experience or anything. I’m just saying, is all.
Frank J. Barbiere’s writing is quick and smooth and simple. He gets the story right out there in front and then doesn’t stop. This thing moves, jumping around in time from the present day to the past and back again with ease and confidence. That’s a good thing. Because I know that sometimes story-within-a-story plots can get burdened down by the fact that the author is trying to do too much with both stories. That’s not the case here and the framing story is barely used in the series overall, and not at all in this issue. So it’s easy to forget it even exists. We are not listening to an old cop tell a story to a young girl. We are with the characters of that story in the past as they rob banks and seek revenge and do their thing.
Honestly the weakest part of Violent Love, to me, overall as a series is the art. I like some of what Victor Santos is doing. I like the old-timey feel to it. I like the colors and the way he uses light and shadow to exaggerate certain scenes and images. But it’s his people I don’t like. For the most part they are weirdly shaped and not proportional, flat and boxy and two dimensional. And they frequently look unfinished. There’s an image of Daisy curled up naked on the bathroom floor after her shower freak out, and her feet just look like two hunks of flesh with small circles drawn on the ends for her toenails. I don’t know. For the most part the art is decent, but then sometimes it just feels too sloppy and incomplete.
Violent Love is a solid story but it’s not without its hiccups. It’s a fun read and I enjoyed my binge session with it. But just know that there is nothing totally original or unique here.
Violent Love #7