Vindication #1

53%
53%
Plenty of Rooms for Improvement

Look, this is a first issue, so much of my problems no doubt stem from the requirement to set up the situation and characters as quickly as possible. There’s a very good idea bubbling away just under the surface here. While it concentrates on Christopher for the most part, hopefully, the reintroduction of Washington in the next issue will bring the tension this issue sorely needed in its latter stages. While I’m dissatisfied with the writing, there’s enough good stuff and potential that I will be checking out issue 2. The table is set, let’s dig in.

  • Writing
    4
  • Art
    6
  • Coloring
    6
  • User Ratings (0 Votes)
    0

The story of a convicted murder set free on a technicality, and the detective who put him away in the first place is the subject of Vindication #1.  With allegations of corruption swirling around Detective Christopher, and with evidence that may put Turn Washington at the scene of a new murder, the stage is set for a riveting examination of the intersection of crime and racism.

Vindication #1 ReviewVINDICATION #1

Writers:  Bryan Hill & Matt Hawkings
Artist: Atilio Roj
Letters: Troy Peteri
Editor: Elena Salcedo
Publisher: Top Cow Productions, Inc. & Image Comics, Inc.
Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 6th, 2019

Previously in Vindication: Sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for murder, Turn Washington is released ten years later. The detective who caught him vows to put him back behind bars.  Chip Christopher is that detective, motivated by a hate for crime and criminals.  Christopher has the taint of corruption on him.  When their worlds collide, only one man will remain free…

ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY

Vindication #1 opens with Turn Washington’s sentencing for murder.  In the court, Detective Chip Christopher, the man who helped put him away, goads Washington as he is led away.  Ten years later, due to an issue with the DNA evidence, Washington is released and is immediately confronted by Christopher at the prison gates.  The confrontation grows into a scuffle, caught on camera by an enterprising local television journalist.

Later, Christopher is introduced to his new partner, Detective Maggie Cruz.  Reluctant to take on a new partner, Christopher concentrates on finding evidence to put Washington back behind bars.  Along the way, we discover allegations of corruption swirl around Christopher, who himself was shot at the same time his former partner was also gun downed and killed.  Both detectives are assigned to a new murder case, and Christopher uses the opportunity to plant evidence incriminating Washington.

HARD WORK

I talked a lot about the current ‘moment’ in American politics in my reviews of the Days of Hate series.  And art should examine the society around it, for good or for bad, whatever your political leanings.  Issues of police corruption, racism, and violence have lingered for decades.  Most of the men and women manning the thin blue line do exemplary work protecting the communities they serve.  But those stories don’t necessarily make for great drama – it’s the grime in the cracks of society, the corruption and the violence that provide the real drive in stories like Vindication #1.

So it is a pity the writing in this issue lets it down so very badly.  Clichéd, ham-fisted and just plain poor, the reader is forced to plow through a series of interior monologues by Christopher that put the dump in info-dump.  We have panel after panel of Christopher reading a computer screen, and thinking to himself what he is reading for the benefit of the audience.  We have clichéd lines like ‘Your kind always slips up, and when you do, I promise you I’ll be there to see it.’  If this story revolved around a pulp, Philip Marlowe style protagonist quick with his fists and tongue, then yeah, absolutely writing like that would fit.  But Vindication #1 sets itself up as a modern examination of policing, crime, corruption, and racism and should be so much more sophisticated than what is served up.

There is a very good story struggling to emerge from the morass of word balloons.  Vindication #1 is a timely book, one that makes a start at setting up a world where Christopher has the possibility of redemption if only he can get past the murder of his partner, and the wounds he himself suffered.  His actions are clearly wrong and will come back to bite him, but the shading of his character instead of just being purely black is leads me to believe that writers Bryan Hill & Matt Hawkings have the ability in future issues to pull the story back into line.

The artwork is perfectly fine, with nice, organic linework and excellent coloring that at least bring a visual appeal to the story.  There are a lot of earth tones, so the imagery is dark throughout, matching the story being told.  Characters are distinct, and there’s a nice use of panels to move the story along.  Kudos to Atilio Rojo for giving Vindication #1 life.

BOTTOM LINE:  PLENTY ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Look, this is a first issue, so much of my problems no doubt stem from the requirement to set up the situation and characters as quickly as possible.  There’s a very good idea bubbling away just under the surface here.  While it concentrates on Christopher for the most part, hopefully, the reintroduction of Washington in the next issue will bring the tension this issue sorely needed in its latter stages.  While I’m dissatisfied with the writing, there’s enough good stuff and potential that I will be checking out issue 2.  The table is set, let’s dig in.


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About Author

Romantic. Raconteur. Kangaroo rustler. Sadly, Rob is none of these. Rob has been a follower of genre since at least the mid-1970s. Book collector, Doctor Who fan, semi-retired podcaster, comic book shop counter jockey, writer (once!) in Doctor Who Magazine and with pretensions to writing fantasy and horror, Rob is the sort of fellow you can happily embrace while wondering why you're doing it. More of his maudlin thoughts can be found at his ill-tended blog https://robertmammone.wordpress.com/

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