‘Vindication:’ Trade Paperback Review

One of the finds I made at San Diego Comic-Con this year was the trade paperback of Vindication by MD Marie.  A taut crime thriller set in Los Angeles, it explores the ever-growing distrust between law enforcement and the African-American community that it is sworn to protect.

When Turn Washington is released after ten years of imprisonment due to conflicting DNA results, his journey home is immediately interrupted by the man who sent him to jail—Detective Chip Christopher.  A man whose every decision is fraught with prejudice and misogyny, Det. Christopher is convinced he was right and that Washington is guilty of murder.  When the jurors from his original trial are murdered, all fingers point to Washington.  Is he guilty or innocent? Or is Det. Christopher so convinced of his own infallibility that he can’t see past his own bias?  As the story progresses, we soon discover that Washington has his own secrets, but sharing them have larger implications.

I found the story to be interesting and complex.  All of the characters are layered and nuanced.  I liked that we got to see where Turn Washington and Det. Christopher came from and how each of their biases were formed. There are no shining heroes here, only mistrust and miscommunication. There are good cops and corrupt ones. Detective Christopher is somewhere in between, though, it is clear that his prejudices affected his ability to do his job well, even when he wanted to.  Unfortunately, that affected Turn and the rest of the African-American community. I’d love to go more into Turn’s character, but then we’d be in spoiler country.

As for the art, the cover presents a powerful statement of how America treats its African-American community. Overall, the art was spot on, except for a few instances where it was a tad confusing. For instance, in a scene after Christopher punched Washington, I thought he was going to hit him again, but later it was mentioned that he was trying to help him up.  There was a later scene where Lisa had some contacts hack a phone then they get into an argument. I guess he threw the phone, but you didn’t see it until it was in her hand in the last panel on the page.  These are quibbles, though, and do not affect the impact of the art.

This is the type of comic book series that should be part of a high school syllabus, as well as police training academies.  Never has it been more important to check your bias at the door and do your job.

Creative Team: Matt Hawkins & MD Marie (creators), MD Marie (writer), Carlos Miko (penciller), Dema Jr. (inker), Thiago Goncalves (colorist), Troy Peteri (letterer), Jonathan Davis (cover artist)
Publisher: Top Cow
Click here to purchase.

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