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Damaged Hits All the Right Marks

Review by Chris Beveridge

If promises aren’t held up after a couple of decades, who can blame justice coming in a bloody and brutal form.

What They Say:

After brutally massacring a criminal ring traditional lawmen have failed to stop, the lives of two policemen, brothers Frank and Henry Lincoln, are forced to diverge.

The Review:

Grim and gritty police and crime books have been around forever to be sure, though they’re the types of things that tend to do better outside of the superhero world since that level of brutality often doesn’t fit. There’s something fascinating and intriguing about getting into works that delve within the dark side to a good degree and having spent some time reading a lot of Andrew Vacch’s books, it’s not one that you want to spend any serious length of time with. The whole thing can be oppressive. So it’s definitely a good sign when you have what David Lapham does here in making this feel like an oppressive city with some real problems going on, but nothing at the moment that is the single focus of one all powerful villain. It’s simply the reflection of where parts of society of the city of San Francisco is like.

The opening issue, clocking in at 33 very beautifully drawn and painted pages, runs though a couple of different stories that do eventually connect. The brutal side comes in the form of a heavily armed man in his forties that has one very distinctive mark to him in that it looks like his police officer’s badge has been burned onto his chest. No longer an officer, he seeks out justice on the guilty with their lives as we see from a bar he strolls into while seeking those responsible for the rape and abuse of a young girl. He’s not completely cold and casual though as there are those he spares, but he’s an effective dispensary of his type of justice. We see the results of it later from another incident as well after he rumbles through a Russian mafia gang leaders mansion and leaves just about everyone for did but giving the impression that it was done by five or six people to the unobservant.

While that does provide for the big stuff, there’s the more connective tissue of it all as well to be dealt with. That comes from introducing the young, up and coming Jack Cassidy. The officer has long wanted to be a part of the special forces on organized crime in the city and a recent incident with one of its members has given him the opening, though it comes at the cost of replacing its current captain, Frank Lincoln. Cassidy’s not keen on this but the bigwigs of the city want Lincoln out since he’s been on the force for nearly forty years now and ten in this position and the weight of it all is causing problems, especially since the Mayor and others can’t manipulate him like they want. Naturally, this brings the two men together as Cassidy deals with the new case that lands in front of him while Frank sort of watches on and investigates on his own. The connection that Frank has to it all is nicely revealed here as well, obvious as it is of course, and it sets the stage for some good tension to be had.

In Summary:

Damaged works a fairly standard story idea here in its setup, but it’s the potential devil in the details that can make it work as it progresses as we understand more of what went down in the past for Frank and the man behind the killings. The book takes a little bit to get going since you know how things are going to unfold at the start, but once it shifts into the city politics later on and more specifically in exploring the character of Frank Lincoln, the more interesting it gets. You want to know more about Frank which in turn will answer other questions. Whether Jack plays the foil or ends up being a supportive role remains to be seen and he’s kind of the wildcard at the moment since he’s young and comes across as a bit more easy to manipulate. The story is decent here and it hits all the right marks which is ably aided by some great detailed, grim and earthy artwork from Leonardo Manco. It’s a solid entry for the genre and leaves you wanting to know more of the underlying story.

Grade: B

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