The Violent: High Stakes, Good Intentions, & Fatal Mistakes
July 14, 2016
THE VIOLENT, subtitled "Blood Like Tar." and concluding today with issue #5, is a crime tale set in Vancouver, featuring Mason, Becky, and their daughter Kaitlyn. Mason is fresh off a year in prison, and he and Becky both got clean when she got pregnant. Kaitlyn is cute, just three years old, and her parents are doing the best they can. The family is stuck between a rock and a hard place, with both parents working low-pay jobs to make ends meet. Mason has a hard time keeping his temper, and Becky has a hard time keeping Mason focused.
The stresses on Becky and Mason are things most of us can relate to, at least on some level. Wanting to provide for your loved ones, becoming conscious of your own shortcomings, and feeling disappointment in your situation are things that resonant with us, with regular, non-superpowered people. Becky and Mason are living life on a razor's edge. They have no room for error, or else they'll lose their daughter and their place in life.
Things fall apart. Separately, and on the same night, Mason and Becky both make terrible mistakes, one out of foolishness and the other out of desperation. Kaitlyn is caught in the middle, safe from their actions, but still put at risk by the fallout. In his rush to keep his life together, Mason makes a series of bad decisions, each of which makes everything worse.
Mason's back is against the wall, and he'd do anything to keep his life together. The trouble is that he soon finds himself forced to cover, and cover, and cover for his sins, and past a certain point, the situation becomes untenable. How will he handle it? How will his family survive it? What comes after?
THE VIOLENT asks all these questions and more, and does it in a way that feels intimate and chilling. You "get" the conflict in a very personal way, and that's the strength of the story that Brisson, Gorham, and Garland are telling. They don't need flash or spectacle to make you believe in what they're doing. All it takes is Mason's desperate attempts to get by as he flails to preserve the life he and Becky have built out of the ashes of their past.