VIOLENT LOVE #10 Review – Emotional, if Neat
After more than a year, the finale to Frank J. Barbiere and Victor Santos’ crime/romance thriller Violent Love hits shelves today. With emotions running high, the pair closes out their story on a hopeful and satisfying, if just a bit too neat, note.
Violent Love is an aptly named series. Daisy, the series’ protagonist, sits at the center of a war between love and violence, one in which the latter verges on victory in this issue. More than twenty years after her father’s murder, she stands face-to-face with Johnny Nails, the man who killed him. Naturally, this leads to the violence.
Barbiere keeps the violence measured, though. Daisy never resorts to ultraviolence. Barbiere applies just the right amount of viciousness for a book that’s, in the end, about moving forward. The narrative dances close to the point of no return, though.
That all said, the book ends with a neat bow on it. Daisy doesn’t become a killer. Instead, she moves past her trauma. She moves toward a happier life with her daughter, while Nails reaps what he’s sowed. Happy endings aren’t a bad thing. In fact, some of the best stories end on up-notes with characters in better places than they were. But for a series that leaned so hard into themes of loss, it’s a shame that Daisy’s happiness didn’t come with more of a price.
Santos does what he does best in Violent Love
Victor Santos’ remains one of the highlights of Violent in this finale issue. He’s consistently delivered clean art that makes’s great use of negative space and his knack for noir sensibility.
One haunting panel, in particular, stood out. As Daisy stands over a cowering Johnny Nails, their shadows take the shape of Nails standing over her father years earlier. Out of context and alone, this panel sums up the entire story of Violent love. Santos, time and time again, has found exciting and interesting ways to make Violent love one of the best looking and emotional books of 2017.
Though Santos didn’t reinvent any wheels with this issue, he still shined. He delivered the level of work readers have come to expect from him, and with Santos, that’s always good enough.
The Bottom Line
In spite of being a bit too neat a sendoff for the series, Violent Love #10 is a fine, even great, finale for a great series. Barbiere and Santos tell a beautiful—visually and narratively–emotional last story. Loss defined Daisy’s life for the last twenty years. By the issue’s end, she begins defining her life by what she does have—her daughter, Penny. Violent Love could have had more emotional cost in the end. But after everything Daisy’s been through, it’s okay to let her drive into the sunset ready to be happy.
Violent Love #10 hits comic shops today!
Frank Gogol is a comic book writer who dabbles in reviewing as a way to learn his craft. His approach to reviewing comics is equal parts critique and analysis. For more from Frank, follow him @frankgogol on Twitter.