Image series Violent Love arrived in its fourth issue this week, featuring the “inspired by real life” events of couple in crime, Daisy and Rock as they hunt down the men responsible for Daisy’s father’s death in the 1970’s. Only it’s not quite that simple.
Firstly, hunting those men is something mainly Daisy is interested in, rather than any of the guys she keeps co-opting into her mission. Secondly, she is rather a hot mess in terms of the chaos she provokes through her wild attempts at revenge. And lastly, oh, yeah, at this point in the story, she and Rock can’t stand each other. Where’s the love promised by the title? Well, on the way presumably. But meanwhile we are immersed in orgiastic violence in a style that only artist Victor Santos can craft and only writer Frank Barbiere can concoct.
[*Mild spoilers for Violent Love #4 below! If you really don’t want to know anything about this issue yet, stop reading now!]
In this issue, Daisy’s unwise attempts at revenge without proper planning have incurred the wrath of the gang La Juaria, the “Wild Dogs”, and escalation is the name of the game. You gotta love Santos’ and Barbiere’s decision to make the ancient, crone-like, and terrifying matriarch of La Juaria almost the scariest thing in the book after issue #3, where a prolonged and savage slaughter of an entire gang was the most effecting. But folks, this woman is terrifying.
And her personality is as bone-chilling as her maw, proven as she pulls the decaying corpse of her son out of the coffin and forces everyone to look at it to make her point about revenge. Geez, grandma. Somehow I think she’s only just getting started on this revenge-quest against Daisy and Rock, too.
But she’s not actually the scariest thing in this comic—remarkably. On any other day she’d win hands down. Nope. Keep your eye on the two young girls present at the funeral. Oh, there they are like two ravens flanking the vulture-like crone:
Here they are looking rather prim and proper, but could they be crones-in-training?
But then they start getting mad, and we don’t want them mad, do we?
This is what Victor Santos tends to do in his comics–he makes sure that no characters are wasted. He has a real passion for secondary characters, for impressive and memorably stylized roles, and for creating menace out of the smallest elements. Barbiere no doubt recognized, too, that in a comic with a lot of violence and conflict, it can become difficult to make an impression on the reader as conflict escalates. How do you keep that fresh and impacting as a series like Violent Love rolls onward, leaving blood in its wake? Clearly by focusing in on specific examples that’ll make your own blood run cold. And that’s what we get here. These girls go from the Wednesday Addams-looking acolytes above to that which we see below:
Wait, what? Is that an axe? Is that a flipping actual AXE? And what the heck is going on here:
Is that face paint or have they actually transformed into some kind of evil spirits of death? Because I’m starting to assume the latter…
And if you see this, I assume it’s probably the last thing you are ever going to see…
Yeah, if you ever see these gals in their quaint 19th century gowns, just remember. Do. Not. Make. Them. Mad.
Santos and Barbiere actually included a lot of light and bright scenes in this issue of Violent Love, too, even veering toward the bucolic as Daisy, Rock, and her former (?) boyfriend hide out in the countryside, but if you want to get a sense for where the conflicts of the series are headed, these two terrifying assassins are a pretty good indicator.
Violent Love #5 arrives on March 22nd, 2017.