Written by: David Lapham
Art by: Leonardo Manco
Created by: Michael and John Schwarz
Executive producer: Sam Worthington
Published by: Radical Publishing
I’m a huge fan of The Punisher. I like the idea of a morally ambiguous character and a Vigilante who sees everything heavily in black and white. This comic takes heavily from The Punisher model but with a twist of ‘if the anti-hero had a brother on the Police Major crimes task force’
The tone is definitely gritty and dark but that is something David Lapham does very well. His characters are all the street level and thought captions abound through out the 4 issues as you get to see the different perspectives and the cleverly interwoven back stories that justify the characters and explain their motives, my complaint though would be there’s nothing new here, we’ve heard it all before with corrupt officials, people taking bribes and guys who want to ‘clean up the system’ by staying outside it and are pro-killing.
There are some new ideas in the story and the pacing is perfect so each issue feels like it’s a chapter in the story, you don’t get a sense of ‘well nothing significant happened’ but you still get a generous share of action and explosions, which is what you want from a comic called ‘Damaged’ (unless you went in thinking this would be some sort of psycho analysis of the mind of a killer etc., in which case this isn’t the comic for you)
The best thing about this comic is by far the art, Leonardo Manco kills it! I first saw Manco’ work when he worked with Warren Ellis in the 90’s on a mini called Druid, that was fantastic but really far out at times. This is a far cry from that and you get the sense that Manco has honed his craft very well in the intervening years.
It’s beautiful, detailed and lifelike that makes you see that he clearly puts a lot of time into his panelling and compositions but so far this has kept to a monthly schedule, an increasingly rare thing for that level of detail. He covers all the basis with his facial expressions being subtle and perfect be it the rambling and changing expressions of a drunk cop to the subtle twitches of a woman trying to impose herself in a conversation, each page is breathtakingly beautiful and the action and movement flow easily and well from panel to panel.
This is an idea you’ve seen before and features elements that’ll be very familiar but it’s delivered sublimely well and as it leads to the big finale you want to grab the reins and jump on to see where it’s all going! A great comic!