The Cost Of A Hard-Bitten Detective: Vindication #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

A young black man named Turn Washington was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Ten years later, he is exonerated thanks to DNA analysis. However, the detective behind his arrest, Christopher, is intent on putting Turn back behind bars. Christopher meets Turn outside the prison and pushes him to the ground. Detective Christopher goes back to his office and goes about building a new case against Turn, and he’s helped along by a new murder that resembles the resembles the one with which Turn was originally charged. However, Christopher’s chief wants him to stay away from anything to do with Turn. Will Christopher follow orders?

Vindication #1 cover by Jonathan Davis
Vindication #1 cover by Jonathan Davis

Vindication #1 reads a lot like a traditional hard-bitten detective story. Detective Christopher is dedicated to putting the suspect behind bars, he doesn’t play by the rules, and his chief is a hardass.

This all reads a little trope-y, but it seems to be deliberate. The story opens up with the focus primarily on Turn and how all of this looks from his perspective. We don’t the truth of what happened with the murder for which he is charged, but we are lead to believe he’s innocent.

This slight change puts Christopher’s story in a different context. He seems to be a “good cop,” but his dogged pursuit of Turn comes off as obsessive and cruel.

The racial element is highlighted, and it’s done so with a bit more artistry and even a touch of subtlety than one might be accustomed to. While I have nothing wrong with keeping the racism inherent in certain systems loud and clear for the readers, Vindication shows how many of these detective story tropes come off as oppressive, hostile, and downright racist when turned upon an innocent black man.

Vindication #1 art by Carlos Miko, Dema Jr., Thiago Goncalves, and letterer Troy Peteri
Vindication #1 art by Carlos Miko, Dema Jr., Thiago Goncalves, and letterer Troy Peteri

Carlos Miko’s artwork is highly-detailed and textured, giving the visuals the down-to-earth this story needs to gel. The artwork is very moody and atmospheric, helped by the color work of Thiago Goncalves, which is a very well-blended mixture of shades and shadows.

Vindication #1 is an interesting venture that seeks to wed detective story cliches to the real-world fallout of such behavior. While some of these tropes do weigh the story down in parts, the premise, artwork, and direction of the story keep it solidly in the “recommended” category. Feel free to check it out.

Vindication #1 comes to us from creators Matt Hawkins and MD Marie, writer MD Marie, artist Carlos Miko, inker Dema Jr., color artist Thiago Goncalves, letterer Troy Peteri, and cover artist Jonathan Davis.

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