I have been looking forward to Violent Love ever since I heard of it’s release. I’m a sucker for a Bonnie and Clyde type love story. Issue 1, written by Frank J. Barbiere, with art by Victor Santos and published by Image Comics, lives up to it’s promise of “An Extreme Tale of Love and Revenge.” Issue 1 is called “The Ballad of Daisy Jane” and it opens in 1987 with a former sheriff (Lou) spinning the tale for an adolescent girl named Penny. Even though the sheriff was forced to do his job and bring Daisy Jane and her lover, Rock Bradley, to justice, he believed the two young people were special. Lou also says that back then “it was much harder to tell the good guys from the bad.” He also tells Penny that the notorious duo saved his life – he has her, and the reader, hooked.
Flashback to 1969, where we meet Daisy Jane working in a diner and fending off lecherous men at every turn. She lives with her father, an automotive repair man. Daisy Jane dreams of going to college, but dad tells her not to get her hopes up, because they don’t have very much money. Daisy Jane, though, believes that hard work and persistence will see her through, and she is rewarded with acceptance to UCLA and financial aid. Off she goes to college, where she is known as smart, studious, and a bookworm.
Without giving away any spoilers, tragedy strikes when Daisy Jane’s father calls, begging her to come home. Apparently, dad isn’t quite who she thought he was, and his past catches up with them both.
The artistic style matches the tone of the text. Sharp lines and edges, a good deal of cross hatching and no frill detail reinforce the grittiness of the tale. There is violence indeed, just enough to be disturbing but not enough to stray into the horror-gore territory. It’s a fast-paced read, and it leaves you wanting more.
The tale of Daisy Jane and Rock is supposedly inspired by a true story, and I for one am looking to find out what that story is, how it impacted the retired sheriff and what it’s legacy will be.