Review by Dan Murray
With Election Day looming in Damaged #5, the disappearance of five corrupt police officers becomes a tipping point in San Francisco as policemen and vigilantes alike engage in their pursuit. While Lieutenant Jack Cassidy seeks these officers through legal means, recently retired SFPD veteran Frank Lincoln abandons his long-held moral code in search of his brother, Henry, and Isaac Lordsman, dead-set on doing whatever he must in order to stop their destructive path. However, he may already be too late, as Henry Lincoln’s troubled protégé finally spins out of control, leaving unimaginable tragedy in his wake.
While this penultimate issue of the series certainly ramps everything up in the lead up to the finale, the comic opens with the calm before the storm. Frank, at the behest of his girlfriend Wendy, has finally taken Cassidy up on his offer to try his wife’s pot roast (a nice finish to a recurring gag in previous issues).
You can see that the four, especially Wendy, can sense that there is something coming that will change things forever and hope to hold onto this tranquil moment for as long as possible. It is here that I think Manco truly steps up and delivers some great artwork. He excellently captures the the facial features and body language of people relaxed in each other’s company. I can’t deny I love the action of the comic (and this issue features some great action), but I find it is moments like these that ensure Lapham’s story doesn’t become just another identikit hard boiled cop story.
Henry meanwhile is growing increasingly concerned with his choice of replacement. Lordsman’s passion and efficiency are what he was after, his willingness to step over the moral boundaries Henry has imposed on himself are not. This issue sees Lordsman not only change the rules of their partnership but also brand himself with his own badge to show his commitment (though Henry wears his own brand like a badge of honour, it was caused by accident rather than design). Leaving Henry behind, Lordsman goes looking for 5 cops who have, in his eyes, escaped justice for too long.
The nice thing about this issue is that it mostly focuses on the younger men in the series. It shows that the whole battle between the cop and the vigilante has passed down a generation as Cassidy and Lordsman take up the roles of Frank and Henry. Though in a nice touch, whilst the battle is the same, the methods are different. Cassidy uses his quick wit and fast talking to get the information he needs, Frank takes the old school approach of policing, his fists. Henry, whilst merciless towards those he deems as evil, will stop himself from crossing the line, whilst Lordsman will kill and hurt whoever he needs to in order to get the job done.
A meeting between the characters in the aftermath of one of Lordsman’s attacks also shows us that Frank’s heavy handed approach to upholding the law may work better than Cassidy’s and makes you wonder if he has what it takes to stop the killers. The issue sets up the finale but it definitely won’t play out the way you’d imagined it.
The comic’s ability to shock is one of it’s best qualities. Some things happened that I’d definitely not seen coming. No higher praise can be heaped on a comic which is telling a story that has been told before than that it still manages to be original. Whilst I like the use of only following one character’s inner monologue per issue (this month it’s back to Cassidy), my only problem with this issue was the lack of insight into how Henry feels about events and information that is revealed in this issue, as his stoic nature doesn’t really give much away. On the whole, another great issue that will leave you wanting more. With only one issue to go and all the players and events set up for the finale, I genuinely can’t wait to see the outcome. 4/5
Damaged #5 is released on Feb 1st. Make sure you pick up a copy.
Here’s what to do:
To enter this contest through Twitter (www.Twitter.com/RadicalComics), participants must retweet the following a maximum of two times a day: #Damaged 5 from @RadicalComics is out Feb.1! http://bit.ly/pXcMYJ Preview: http://bit.ly/xG3dzP
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To go to this article in its entirety at BadHaven.com, click here. Click the cover image to learn more about Damaged.