Filed under: Comic Reviews, Radical Publishing Comics | Tags: AlexMaleev, Damaged, DavidLapham, JohnSchwarz, LeonardoManco, MichaelSchwarz, Radical Publishing
Radical publishing offers us Damaged #1, the latest of it’s titles to create some buzz in the world of comics…..it’s just a damn shame the buzz hasn’t been louder because this is an amazing first issue. Created by Michael & John Schwarz, written by David Lapham, illustrated by Leonardo Manco, cover by Alex Maleev and with Sam Worthington as “Executive Producer” (whatever that is for a comic book?) have their names attached to this gritty and violent tale.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
It’s a tale of 2 brothers, Frank and Henry Lincoln, one having worked up the police ranks (Frank) with Henry taking a more extreme approach to justice as a vigilante. We’re given a mere glimpse at the crossroads where their cop careers have obviously taken them down different paths. The best thing about this is that we have a perfect combo of writer/artist and the fact that we have the first three pages with no words, just an atmospheric build up of clunk/click sound effects as Henry gets ready to dish out a first look at his approach to upholding the law: dowsing the exterior of a bar with gasoline and strolling in heavily armed. You can guess how that plays out.
Meanwhile, his brother Frank faces his retirement from the force and we get to sit in on the meeting between the Mayor, Chief of Police and Commander as they essentially groom his rookie replacement, Jack Cassidy. From here we get a change of tact on the storytelling front and get a noir-esque narration from Frank and see that the law has really been his life for the last 35 years and he knows those days are numbered.
The remainder of the book maintains a steady pace throwing in some punchy dialogue between Frank and Jack as they are thrown in at the deep end when the home of San Francisco’s head of the Russian mafia is attacked and burnt to the ground with heavy casualties. A single survivor is tracked down and we start to learn a bit more about where this book is going to go. We get to see the old school approach from Frank as he butts heads with his rookie replacement on how to handle the whole situation.
The writing is atmospheric and the switch between dialogue and narration from Frank is effortless with Manco’s art making you feel like this could be a real situation playing out somewhere. The detail is exceptional too as Manco works hard to retain the wrinkles etched on to the two brother’s faces. Many may raise comparisons with Marvel’s The Punisher and his own vigilante justice but he’s definitely held within a comic book universe – this mature title holds a more realistic edge for me.
For me, Radical has been one of the most consistent producers of comic book page-turners in recent years and across a number of different genre’s with Damaged proving to be another addition to their growing list of comics that need to read by the comic book masses. There’s no 10 out of 10 to be handed out here, more a 10 shotgun shells out of 10.
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