Vindication #2 // Review
A police investigation leads to a search for an SD card as interpersonal drama intensifies in the second issue of writer M.D. Marie’s Vindication. A compelling crime drama immerses itself in complexity in a story brought to the page by penciler Carlos Miko with inks by Dema Jr. and colors by Thiago Goncalves. Detective Chip Christopher as he continues his mission to prove that recent prison release Turn Washington is guilty. The second issue of the four-part mini-series centers itself on the drama with a stern hand that raises tensions as the series reaches the end of its first half.
As the issue opens, both Turn Washington and Detective Christopher are looking for the same SD card in the same house. Neither of them is supposed to be there. Both escape the encounter unscathed. Turn is off visiting a private detective friend of his in Modesto while certain moments from the past of Detective Christopher are revealed in a flashback that make matters all the more murky in the present. The encounter at the beginning of the issue is echoed in the end, setting up a cliffhanger that carries the series to its midpoint.
Marie immerses the second issue in a hell of a lot of conversation. There IS a scene involving a hold-up of a convenience store and the inevitable physical altercation at issues end, but the second issue of the series is shrouded in heavy, heavy drama. There is a tremendous amount of dialogue, which is fine for the most part, but the conversations can feel stiff and unnatural in places, and it’s difficult to feel much connection with the characters when so much of the series’ panels are covered in dialogue consistent with a police procedural. There’s a serious drama at the bottom of it all, but there’s a LOT to have to wade through to get to it.
Miko continues a very gritty shadow-infused world with ink embellishment by Dema Jr. The attempt at total realism on the page makes the action feel static. Everything is in freeze-frame whether. Turn to hop a fence as Christopher aims at him motionlessly. A gunfight in a convenience store plays out in motionless panels and still splashes of blood. The drama poses challenges for the art team. People talk on phones as they stare off into the middle distance sternly. Conversations play out neatly in stacks of horizontal patterns. People yell. People ask pointed questions and express concerns, and it’s all immersed in heavy, heavy ink. Goncalves follows the shadowy darkness of the issue with muted colors and some amusing bits of the atmosphere. Surveillance camera footage on a screen at issue’s open feels authentically backlit. Flashlights in the dark feel moody. It's all so dull. Even the sky over sunny southern California is overcome but lurking clouds.
The climax at the end of the issue suggests action is on its way at the beginning of the second half of the series that will be doubtlessly accompanied by more glances into the psyche of Turn, Detective Christopher and the people in their lives. The drama here is capable of being remarkably compelling once the action starts rolling, but the series is already halfway over. The picture revealed in the series’ second quarter is impressive. The final two chapters will show whether or not this one bears as much intensity as it seems to have. If the series ends with another couple of issues like this one, the whole story could feel very murky indeed.