Saturday, April 8, 2017

Violent Love (Volume 1:Stay Dangerous), by Frank J. Barbiere (story), Victor Santos (art)

Image Comics, ISBN 9781534300446, May 2017

A young girl named Penny visits a neighbor, a friend of her mother's, who we gradually learn is a retired federal marshal. Back in the 1960s, he was involved in investigating a pair of violent killers, Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley. Penny sees some newspaper clippings he's kept, and he tells her the rest of the story.

That story is most of this book, with Penny and the marshal as a frame story.

Daisy Jane enters the story as a young girl as innocent as Penny, but her life is about to hit some very rough waters.

Her father, who loves her and supports all her ambitions of going to college and making something of herself, runs an auto repair garage now--but he used to be a gangster. A fortuitous car accident puts him back in tough with old associates, and he sees an easy way to make the money Daisy Jane needs to go to college. She goes happily off to UCLA, having no idea what her father is doing.

When she comes home unexpectedly for a visit, she discovers her beloved dad is letting his garage be used at night to punish those who have angered the local mob boss. From there, things can only go downhill. When her own father is killed, angry with him or not, she's determined to have revenge.

The story that follows is violent and fairly graphic, but also attentive to the human reality of what Daisy and those around her are experiencing, as she is transformed from an innocent girl with high ideals, into a violent killer. This is volume one, from her eager determination to go to college, through learning how to kill and being willing to. I expected not to like this because of the graphic violence, but found it surprisingly good.

Recommended, with content warning for violence.

I received a free electronic galley of this book, and am reviewing it voluntarily.