Brian Wood and Mack Chater get their new series about an uncompromising woman in a tough situation off to a great start. Grace Briggs is the matriarch of Briggs Land, the largest secessionist movement in the country, while her husband is incarcerated. Now that he’s negotiating a deal with the feds to give up his land in exchange for an early release she now has to divorce him and take over the operation herself. In order to do that she’s going to need assurances from her three sons Isaac (the soldier), Noah (the wild one), and Caleb (the white supremacist) that they’re all on board with her. Then comes the difficult work of turning what has been a hotbed for racism and military extremism into something its members can be proud to live in again.
Some people might find the idea that the Briggs Family, as led by Grace, aren’t meant to be the bad guys here a little difficult to swallow. After all, anti-government militia groups have made for some of the most reliable bad guys in fiction over the years and whenever they make the news in real life it’s usually because they’ve taken over some place and are in a standoff with law enforcement. With “Briggs Land” Wood is subverting conventional expectations and asking us to entertain the idea that something good can be wrought from a group that wants nothing to do with our government. The tension, and entertainment comes from seeing how its protagonist is going to de-toxify the more noxious elements of the group to get to that point.
In that regard, Grace makes for a pretty great protagonist. We’re introduced to Grace as she gives her husband a verbal severance in prison and soon see the woman take up a rifle to protect her home from some of his thugs. She’s also shown to be pretty resourceful when it comes to dealing with her sons, members of Briggs Land, and the Keystone Cops that pass for FBI agents that are investigating her. Whether or not Grace is as ruthless as she’ll undoubtedly need to be in order to deal with the threats coming her way, from without and within, remains to be seen. In that regard, I can say that in regards to my initial thoughts on the solicitation of the first issue of the next miniseries “Lone Wolves,” it’s very much something to look forward to.