Vindication #3 // Review
Mysteries get murkier as matters of Internal Affairs are discussed at a bar. A police detective is brutally beaten in a shadowy room. Somewhere there’s a tiny SD card that seems to hold possible answers in the third issue of MD Marie’s Vindication. The earthbound crime drama is hauled onto the page by artist Carlos Miko with inks by Dema Jr. Color comes to the page courtesy of Thiago Concalves. Complexity looks good on Vindication as detective and suspected murderer come face-to-face and realize that neither one of them knows quite as much as they think they do.
The issue opens with a couple of pages of conversation. Internal Affairs is drawn into the concerns of a man named Turn Washington who was released from prison in the first issue of the series. They would be interested to know that the man in question is questioning a man named Detective Christopher who was certain of Turn’s guilt. There’s a shadowy interrogation. Christopher gets smacked around a bit, but this is no mindless slugfest. Both Turn and Christopher find out a little bit more about mysteries that deepen as the contents of an SD card are called into question.
Marie’s story bathes in details like any good mystery should. The challenge is to bring the mystery to the page in a way that’s visually dynamic. The script settles-in on a few seedy locations that don’t leave much modulation in tone. The mystery woven in the dialogue balloons keeps the pages turning even if Marie chooses not to develop the story in a way that would lend itself well to a visual medium. What the story lacks in dynamic visuals it largely makes up for in gritty moodiness. Marie is pointing the panels directly into the shadows, which isn’t a bad place to spend just over 20 pages.
Miko and Dema Jr. dive right into the shadows with Marie in a richly-etched world of mystery and brutality. The atmosphere is fairly consistent throughout the issue as an initial scene in a bar is followed by a lengthy interrogation in a dark, windowless room. There’s a hell of a lot of darkness in this issue. Drama too. It’s the brutality that makes the most profound impact on this issue, though. When Detective Christopher gets knocked around, he REALLY gets knocked around. The scars and bruises on his face lend a visceral feel to the drama of the story that will likely endure for issues to come. Conclaves gives the bruises a harshly vivid feel. Bruises are given a strikingly realistic color thanks to Conclaves’ very intricate work. The subtlety and texture Conclaves is able to render in facial expressions lend gravity to the drama that simply wouldn’t be there otherwise.
The comic book medium can do a lot of different things. MD Marie is hauling it into a very formal place with Vindication that feels satisfying enough for another issue, but there’s going to need to be some pay-off and shifting of mood in issues to come. If not, the overall energy of the mystery could easily grind to a halt.