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‘The Violent #1:’ Comic Book Review

Way back in the ancient times of 2013, a very talented writer named Ed Brisson came through as part of the creative team on a little book called Sheltered, a series from Image Comics that not enough people read, which is a slap in the face to how incredible a book it was. Now, Brisson is back, this time with artist Adam Gorham and colorist Michael Garland with The Violent, a new series from Image Comics.

Set in the troubled land of Vancouver, the story follows two equally troubled people trying to make ends meet in a city where that has become more and more difficult. Ex-Con Mason and his wife Becky are doing all they can to take care of themselves and their young daughter in spite of all of the things standing in their way.

If there’s one thing that should be absolutely clear at this point, it’s this: I love the hell out of Ed Brisson’s work. I loved Sheltered, and I can already say the same about The Violent after one issue. Brisson’s personal relationship to Vancouver is heartfelt and passionate, and while so far the book hasn’t lived up to its title, there is some major tension building that looks like it will be changing very soon.

As good as the premise and the story are, this book would be nothing but pretty words without The Violent’s co-creator, Adam Gorham, who manages to be both rough and pretty at the same time. The world is pale and a bit worn, and this comes through well in the art. Gorham brings this dreary city to life in a painful, but heartfelt, way, cementing a connection with the story and Vancouver itself all at once.

Colorist Michael Garland needs to get in on the compliment parade, as well, especially for the nearly silent opening few pages. The use of different color combinations to drive home the emotional tone works just right every time, and there’s one panel where he uses the red of a car’s taillight to convey motion in a way that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

Also worth noting is the back-up story by author Sam Wiebe, entitled “Head Down,” which is a fascinating read.

If it sounds like I’m saying a lot of good things about The Violent, it’s because I am. This opening issue grabbed me right away, and despite some trepidation about where it could be heading, I’m in for the long haul.

And, so should you.




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