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Damaged #4 is a Page Turner

Review by Andy Oliver

Captain Frank Lincoln of the S.F.P.D. is a good cop in a corrupt city, on the verge of an enforced retirement engineered by the crooked officials who run his force. Years ago, as young police officers, he and his brother Henry were involved in the violent deaths of a pedophile ring involving respected public figures. Henry took the full blame for this before going on the run.

Decades later, Henry is back in town, looking to bring down as many of the locale’s rotten elements as possible, from Russian Mafiya interests to the malevolent forces in the city’s administration. Into this impending confrontation each brother has involved a protégé; in Frank’s case, his replacement-in-waiting, the honest but naïve Lieutenant Jack Cassidy, and in Henry’s, the disgraced ex-police officer Isaac Lordsman, whose vigilante behaviour has caused a public scandal.

But will a shared secret from Frank and Henry’s past forever alter how Henry perceives his mission..?

Damaged, the hard-boiled drama born of Radical Comics’ partnership with production company Full Clip, comes to the end of its middle act with this fourth issue and effectively sets up what looks to be a gripping, climactic finale. The premise of this David Lapham-scripted tale (working from a concept established by Full Clip Productions’ Michael and John Schwarz) is, perhaps, a familiar one: two brothers, ending up on different sides of the law forced into conflict with each other. The twist here, though, is that although the brothers’ methods are polarised, their aims are essentially the same.

Lapham’s characterisation is engaging and three-dimensional throughout, providing a thoughtful contrast between the world-weary and burdened Frank Lincoln and the fixed and clinically-motivated psyche of his brother Henry. A number of effective twists in the narrative keep the reader hooked and avoid the story degenerating into the standard “war on crime” filler it could so easily have slipped into. Comfort reading this may be, but it’s been an absorbing page-turner from that very first chapter.

Leonardo Manco’s art is as detailed and evocative as ever; ably proving that sometimes the term “grim and gritty” is the description of an appropriately mood setting style rather than the embodiment of a pejorative implication. Throughout the run of Damaged, Manco has stunningly brought life to Lapham’s action sequences with a near cinematic grace.

In many ways, Damaged is The Punisher done right; a taut crime thriller that embodies the wish-fulfilment fantasies of the vigilante genre without ignoring the resulting personal consequences. With revelations waiting to be spilled, the two culminating parts of this tense tale cannot come quickly enough.

Click here to go to this review at BrokenFrontier.com or click the image to learn more about Damaged.

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