Review - Damaged # 4

In Damaged #4, writer David Lapham continues to deliver a tour-de-force of crime/police drama and the moody, Law and Order feel is really captured well by comic book veteran illustrator Leonardo Manco. Full Clip Productions has sort of won me over in a short period of time.

The truth be told: a lot of fledgling company’s make their mark by showing off their potential. But these guys?? Their final product is so polished you get the sense that they’ve been in business for years!

Damaged #4 does seem like it's at sort of a crossroads just before the finale kind of deal, but it isn’t dull by any means. There’s a lot of ‘gray’ in Damaged and it’s kind of like you feel tragedy just BREWING throughout the series. Sooner or later, the bough is going to break and people will get hurt (physically and otherwise).

Damaged is all about loyalty, I think, to the law, to your career, to other people, to the what’s good for the whole political system. The truth is, we really DO struggle to resolve tension when there’s a contradiction like this in our lives. And you really feel that in Damaged. Beyond that the art is phenomenal. There’s plenty of action to keep the story interesting and alive here too.

I do think the studio’s original intention--to break into movies and television--bleeds through a bit and the choreography and dialogue of their series has a very ‘screenplay’ feel. I mean, it figures with Sam Worthington at the helm, right?

But that isn’t a bad thing by any means. On the contrary, the pacing and action in Damaged is very enticing. If there’s one thing I really love about this comic it’s the characterization. The dialogue seems subtle and realistic. You can really feel the human-ness of the relationships, which builds tension, really.

I think what Damaged does very well is deliver the kind of complex interplay between individual personality, morality and the law that you’d find in a John Grisham novel. Maybe blowing away bad guys as a vigilante IS the right thing to do, but if it tanks your career when you’ve got a pregnant wife at home is it STILL the right thing to do?

I really can’t say enough good things about Damaged #4 and the seres as a whole. It’s got the trappings of a great series. Fans of more highbrow crime dramas like Brian Michael Bendis’ Torso and ethical dilemma films like Training Day will find this book surprisingly engrossing and filled with more complexity than it might appear at a glance.

Long story short is that these guys can write the script to a Punisher movie any day of the week, if you ask me! Not that I think it’s fair to compare Damaged to something else. The story and characters stand on their own merits and this book really stands out as more than a gritty ‘shoot ‘em up’. Highly recommended.

Damaged #4 is in stores now. Obviously, check out the first three issues if you haven't already to get caught up on a great series. The six issue miniseries might be the sleeper hit of 2011, I’ve gotta say.