Rating: 4/5 – An Uncomfortably Well-Done Crime Comic.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.
I’m a big fan of Ed Brisson’s writing. His “pre-apocalyptic tale” Sheltered was one of my favorite books last year. He also wrote The Field, The Mantle, and Cluster…all books I enjoyed very much. Now his latest offering ‘The Violent’, a story of an ex-con, ex-drug-addict and his wife who are struggling to raise a small daughter against a backdrop of a seedy world that is trying it’s best to pull him back into a life on the wrong side of the law.
Mason is just out of jail after doing a year for B&E. He’s working a job as a mover and his wife works nights cleaning an office building. They have a 3 year old daughter. We’re introduced to Mason as he appears to be casing a house for a future break-in. Up rolls Becky who had come home from work to find their 3 year old at home alone. Yes, she was asleep, but parents know you don’t just leave your small children home alone whilst you go out on the prowl. “What the f**k? What the ACTUAL f**k?” asks Becky. What indeed? We have witnessed the 1st in what is sure to be a long line of extremely poor parenting decisions from Mason (he makes more in this issue and I’m sure many additional poor decisions are coming).
Ed Brisson has the dialogue down pat, it feels real as Mason and Becky argue. Adam Gorham’s art is a perfect match for the story, he keeps things moving along and does a great job on facial expressions and body language. The book is so well-done that I won’t be getting it on an on-going basis. Let me explain. A key element of the story for me were the repercussions Mason’s bad decisions have on his 3-year-old daughter. Ever since I became a parent myself, the one kind of story I lost all tolerance for is one where small children are put in peril, particularly stories that feel very realistic. It’s not that I don’t think these stories should be told, it’s just that they make me feel very uncomfortable. I read comics for escapism and entertainment, so I typically skip over these kinds of stories. Take the kid out of the equation and you have a very different story. Keep it the way it is. I encourage others to check it out, it’s a great book and other people are not going to be approaching it from the headspace that makes it difficult for me to enjoy. I can appreciate the craft that went into making this comic.
If you enjoy realistic street-level crime stories, The Violent should be right up your alley. It chronicles the cycle of poor decisions that keep an ex-con in a life on the wrong side of the law and how those affect the people around him. This was an extremely well done comic and is worth a look.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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