Sachs & Violens
By Peter David (W) and George Perez (A)
Cover Price $14.99. Published by DC Comics. Originally printed by Epic Comics as Sachs & Violens 1-4.
The Plot: Juanita Jean “J.J.” Sachs and Ernie “Violens” Schultz try to take down a crime ring involved in everything from snuff films to child slavery.
Strengths: While it might seem a little tame by today’s standards, Sachs & Violens pushed a lot of boundaries when it first came out in 1993. And unlike many titles nowadays, nothing is gratuitous about the nudity, violence and general depravity. Every “unseemly” aspect serves a purpose in the story, and it’s always done tastefully. Unlike say, NYPD Blue, which had nudity and coarse language simply for the sake of saying, “Look, we have nudity and coarse language! Watch us!” And no, that example wasn’t chosen at random.
It goes without saying that the creative team is very talented, but I’ll say it anyway. Peter David is at his best when he can right whatever he wants, be it a creator-owned title (Fallen Angel) or a title that isn’t high-profile enough for the publisher to really care what he does with it (X-Factor). And George Perez is simply one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, yet you get to see him here doing something you’ve never seen him do before.
Weaknesses: This trade is a great introduction to the characters of Sachs and Violens. It’s essentially the origin of their team-up. It introduces a mystery villain that’s pulling the strings behind everything Sachs and Violens are trying to bring down. At the end, Sachs and Violens are on the run from the police because they have to be bad to be good. It has the makings of a nice long series. Unfortunately, this is it as far as solo Sachs & Violens stories. We never know if Sachs and Violens find the mystery villain. We never know if they fulfill their mission.
Grade: B. Sachs & Violens manages to combine grim and gritty “real life” comics with the superhero genre in a completely unique way. It takes the fantastic elements of society that seemingly can’t actually exist (but do) and mixes in larger-than-life heroes and villains. If you don’t mind the overall premise of sex and violence, a funny and heartwarming story is waiting beneath.