Briggs Land, USA is nearly 100 square miles of land, owned and controlled by the Briggs Family—anti-government secessionists. They had intended to live peaceful lives, until the rise of religious extremism led them to criminal acts. Under the eyes of two federal agents, Grace Briggs takes over the family land and people.
This issue is all about the internal power struggle in Briggs Land. Grace is now the head of the house, but when she and Isaac (her son) are attacked, she is forced to make negotiations with her two other sons, Caleb and Noah. This is when the struggle for economic and security power come up. This is a really suspenseful and mysterious series that will bring up a lot more than just questions about the storyline.
Writer Brian Wood writes this script with a strong female protagonist moving the plot. This world doesn’t accept change so easily, so that alone brings tension to Briggs Land. The fact that Grace handles things differently (with poise, sincerity, and NOT anger) is questionable to everyone there. It’s not a great way to show her newfound power, but it’s a great way to make it clear that Briggs Land is changing a Hell of a lot.
This also expands Grace’s characterization. When she talks to a local about domestic violence, it shows that she isn’t much of the dictator that we thought, but a soft, sympathetic, and caring person. However, it also proves that she has no idea what the people on her own land are going through or how to fix it.
In a primarily patriarchal world, Grace is stepping up and defying all gender stereotypes. Wood makes sure we pick up on that, seeing as all the men in this series have an immense amount of bravado and weaponry and what not, but they aren’t as resilient as Grace.
Wood’s writing style itself is a change from the usual flow that we see in mainstream comics. The dialogue is blunt and very to-the-point. This isn’t to say that Wood is a bad writer at all; he is focusing on the story more than his own writing talents, which is a bold, brave, and effective way to write the script.
Mack Chater’s illustrations and Lee Loughridge’s colors work perfectly together to depict Wood’s script as well as possible. The two create a very dull and even miserable tone for the story, which matches the tone of the writing. The placement of objects here and there tells a lot about the story, like when we see Grace’s gun lying next to her makeup. We can easily tell the two personas she has to live with, and the trouble it may cause.
I haven’t seen a creative team work more in sync with each other than this in a while. Each character has flaws, and we are reminded of them constantly. Briggs Land is a place where nearly anything can happen, so I’m at the edge of my seat waiting to see how Grace handles her new land and even what she has done in her past to make her capable of this. This series is definitely worth the read for anyone who enjoys a dramatic story with a lot of depth and characterization.
Written by: Brian Wood
Illustrated by: Mack Chater